The Benefits of a Relaxing Hatha Yoga Practice
Hatha yoga is one of the most widely practiced yoga styles in yogic history. As a branch of yoga with the literal Sanskrit translation meaning “force” or “life force”, Hatha yoga involves combining practices of the mind, body, and breath.
Unlike other fitness-based yoga styles like Vinyasa that focuses on flowing movement or Ashtanga which focuses on clearing the mind as one moves the body, Hatha yoga utilizes yoga postures to achieve a clear mind toward the end of class.
Involving much stretching, breathing, and time spent in low and long postures, the benefits of Hatha yoga include stress reduction, main management, improved balance, neck and back pain relief, mindfulness practice, relaxation, and deeper sleep. To learn more about the benefits of relaxing and rejuvenating Hatha yoga, continue reading below.
Satisfying Stress Reduction
Hatha yoga is very impactful when it comes to relieving stress. This is due to the consistent attention to breath encouraged throughout Hatha yoga’s physical practice. A typical stress response involves the human body releasing a group of chemicals and hormones that instruct the brain and body to exhibit signs of adrenaline and fear.
When Hatha yoga is practiced, this chemical production occurs less frequently and therefore stress regulation becomes easier. When daily stress reduction is easier, people are often generally much happier because they can focus on the present moment and on the activities that they enjoy.
Reduce Pain By Lengthening Muscles
The lengthening and stretching of the body that occur during typical Hatha yoga practices are great for reducing pain due to stiff muscles, improper posture, and overall physical weakness. Due to the extended amounts of time spent in each calming stretch, the muscles and ligaments become elongated. Elongating the muscles of the body can often reduce pain in various ways. For example, if one is experiencing back soreness, stretching the hamstrings can often relieve this feeling.
Improve Your Balance
When one practices Hatha yoga regularly, one’s sense of balance is said to improve over time. This can occur for two basic reasons, including:
- Core Strength
When the core becomes engaged during balancing tasks such as standing on one leg, the body is more stable due to the strength in the abdomen, which is responsible for holding the spine erect and aids in lifting the knees. Mindfulness is also helpful because it increases the success of proprioception, or the ability to understand one’s location with other objects.
Relieve Neck and Back Pain
Hatha yoga is a wonderful resource for anyone struggling with constant or chronically recurring neck and back pain. It aids in decompressing the spine by lengthening tendons that connect our vertebrae. It also helps strengthen the muscles of the spine and abdomen so that they can hold the neck and spine at proper angles.
Slow, calm movements that encourage the body to support its weight are what make Hatha yoga an excellent antidote to that achy neck and back feeling.
An Increase in Mindfulness
Hatha yoga is an inherently slow type of yoga that does not require the use of the body’s fast-twitch muscles. Long, drawn-out poses and fluid transitions throughout Hatha yoga classes encourage a meditative quality to the physical practice, therefore allowing the mind to slow and eventually become still during the post-class Savasana and meditation series.
Quick Tip: If you’re having a hard time focusing on your seated meditation, consider taking a few Hatha yoga postures to slow your breath and your body down ahead of time.
Lower Chances of Depression
According to a study done on Hatha yoga in 2018, Hatha yoga can sometimes lower the chances of depression in adults. It can also decrease levels of anxiety and symptoms of depression in individuals with previous diagnoses. This can be due to the intake of breath and the slowing of the mind that occurs while practicing Hatha yoga. It has also been said that Hatha yoga makes people happier through a focus on the present moment and invitation to put worries away.
Achieve Restorative REM Sleep
For anyone wanting to wind down and become relaxed before bedtime, introducing Hatha yoga to your evening routine is a wonderful solution. Doing Hatha yoga has been shown to aid adults in falling asleep faster through physical exercise, slowing of the breath, and because of its general mood-calming effects. Those who are relaxed before bedtime are also often able to achieve REM sleep more commonly than adults who feel wound-up or distracted before going to sleep.
REM sleep is important because it is the only time in a human being’s life that the brain is actively restoring itself. To achieve REM sleep every night is imperative in living a healthy and well-rounded existence.
Begin or Continue Your Hatha Practice
The benefits of Hatha yoga are vast and holistic, helping both beginner yogis and seasoned professionals alike. From achieving REM sleep each night and finding happiness in a stress-free life to relieving physical body pain and eliminating the symptoms of adult depression, Hatha yoga is both relaxing and full of helpful qualities.
Whether you are interested in starting a Hatha yoga practice for the very first time or are wanting to get back into a regular Hatha yoga practice, take a look at what our experienced and professional teachers have to offer on ZentasticFit.com. From studio listings to regular in-person and virtual classes, our comprehensive directory is here to help you find the perfect yoga class for your needs.
By Shasta Fay