(Bodywork & Energywork)
Hatha can be understood as Yoga of the body. It is a branch of Yoga that involves the practice of physical postures in conjunction with breath awareness to help develop mental clarity and focus, and unify Mind, Body, and Spirit.
Hatha Yoga is a low-intensity and restorative approach to dynamic Yoga that involves slow, functional movements and gentle static holds. This beginner-friendly practice seamlessly blends various standing, sitting, and flowing postures, into a moving meditation designed to align and calm Body, Mind, and Spirit, balance Yin (passive) and Yang (active) energies, and reconnect you with your Being. Often a variety of concentration, contemplation, and Self-Enquiry techniques are employed throughout the session to gently guide awareness back to its source. Hatha practices often predominantly target the muscles, joints and organs of the physical body, using postures and movements to heal, strengthen and energise.
Benefits of a Hatha Yoga practice include increased circulation and lymphatic drainage, helping the lymphatic system fight infection, relaxation of the nervous system thereby reducing stress and stress-related issues, quieting and relaxing the mind, release of mental-emotional and physical tension, toning, strengthening and lubricating the muscles and joints, particularly the hips and spine, and supporting, improving and maintaining overall functional fitness.
Yin evolved out of a deep and profound need for more slow, passive, gentle practices to support and balance us in this highly active, fast-paced, Yang world.
This style of Yoga is beginner friendly, slow, passive, meditative and floor-based, incorporating principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with Yogic asana (posture) practice. Yin Yoga is designed to relax and release the deep network of connective tissues (a network of fibres, energy and water that pervades the entire body, giving it shape and stability) throughout the physical body, and stimulate the energy channels woven throughout the subtle body, by applying gentle mechanical stress in a series of poses, held for around 3 to 5 minutes each. Connective tissues require the muscles to relax around them in order to stretch effectively, and they respond best to the application of a slow, steady load, which is why Yin poses are held for so long. By gently stretching connective tissue in this way, the body responds by making it a little longer and stronger each time. A wide variety of props (bolsters, blankets, cushions etc.) are used throughout the practice to hold and support the body, and assist in gently opening and releasing the connective tissues.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, connective tissue is closely linked to the Meridians (energy channels), Chi (energy) flow, and organ function within the body. The health and quality of our connective tissues has the capacity to determine the health and quality of our thoughts, emotions, physical body, and overall wellbeing. Yin poses stimulate and remove blockages in the connective tissue and related Meridians, thereby improving energy flow, particularly through the internal organs, and balancing the various systems of the body. These poses often focus on the lower part of the body – the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine – as these areas are especially rich in connective tissues and can hold many energetic blockages.
Yin Yoga encourages us to switch off and rest in Being, calming the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for fight-flight-freeze response), activating the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest, repair and digestion) leading to the reduction of stress and anxiety, improved circulation and lymphatic drainage, supporting immune function and the flushing of toxins, lubrication of joints and the release of tension and restrictions in the fascia, improving overall mobility, flexibility and tissue function, and enhanced energy flow throughout the body, balancing the internal organs and supporting overall function of the body. Yin Yoga is ideal for those who are tired and craving energy, or over-stimulated and have too much energy.