What type of yoga do you teach? This is a question I get asked often. There are many different types of yoga and it is a perfectly valid question. When I start explaining the link between the body and the mind through the breath, I realise that is is something that is better experienced than explained. This post is to provide the basics of what happens in my classes and my own practice. However, I will not attempt to explain the deep-rooted meanings and philosophy behind it. There’s a Wikipedia article for that.
For starters, Hatha refers to the practice of physical postures, known as asanas. Translated, ‘ha’ means sun and ‘tha’ means moon. It is about balance. Not the type of balance where you stand on your head, but the balance of opposites (such as masculine/feminine, creative/logical or force/willing) and balancing the mind with the body through the breath.
Whilst instructing people in my classes, it is imperative that they carry out their yoga practice safely. It doesn’t matter if their hand won’t touch the floor, or if they can’t twist round very far. Working with the body you have is vital and I try to help people understand and accept that. The static nature of a Hatha class means that you are not rushing from pose to pose, with no time to process what you are doing. I encourage people to listen to what their body is telling them and most of all to be kind towards it! Emphasising the breath during a pose helps both the mind and the body to relax.
During my own practice, I usually do a sequence of poses that I am comfortable with and then try more difficult ones. My training and further learning also enables me to teach poses that I cannot physically achieve, but there is usually at least one person in the class who can. And that is why I teach yoga – to make people realise exactly what their bodies and their minds are capable of.