Reminding students of the essence of hatha yogaas a practice of balanced integration of effort and ease is a powerful starting point for making yoga more transformational, especially as students begin to explore and discover how the practice can play with the apparent polarities of life. Although typically reduced to “physical yoga,” the term hatha is made from the syllables ha and tha, which respectively signify the solar and lunar energies pulsating throughout the world. Both sun and moon have rich symbolic significance in Indian mythology. The solar energies are expansive and invigorating, while lunar energies are more integrative and calming. The term hatha yoga thus conveys the integration of opposites, the balance of effort and ease, a practice that is at once awakening and calming. Brought into asana and pranayama classes, these balanced qualities make yoga more sustainable and transforming.
Note: ALL forms of physical yoga – from Ashtanga and Iyengar to Anusana and Vinaysa Flow – are Hatha Yoga. This is the large umbrella that all asana practices fall under.