Hatha yoga is a term associated with the general practice of yoga, which in Western practice often emphasizes physical postures and meditation. Commonly, hatha yoga is differentiated from power yoga as a much slower-paced style. It is a popular exercise for those seeking the relaxation and mental clarity benefits of yoga as well as physical fitness, but also differentiates itself from Raja yoga, which focuses primarily on the meditation aspect.
If you are interested in yoga, but aren’t able to attend classes (or just prefer exercising on your own time at home), hatha yoga dvds could be a great way to reduce stress and get in shape.
Historically, hatha yoga was practiced by Indian sages as a system to train and purify their bodies in preparation for the rigors of higher meditation. In Sanskrit, hatha is a composite of ha (“sun”) and tha (“moon”), which combined means “forceful.” The word yoga is translated “to yoke,” or to join. Together, the term hatha yoga is meant to describe the joining of active and receptive energy to create a more balanced and powerful individual.
A more specific definition of hatha yoga is described in the text Hathapradipika, by the yogi Svatmarama, which outlines hatha yoga’s six limbs (or aspects):
1. Asana (body position)
2. Pranayama (breath control)
3. Pratyahara (sense control)
4. Dharana (intention)
5. Dhyana (mediation)
6. Samadhi (contemplation)
Another important part of hatha yoga, achieved through practicing these aspects, is kundalini, the awakening of the unconscious or instinctive force.
More information on the history and philosophy behind the practice of yoga can be found online, in books, or through teachers. Many yoga studios offer classes and retreats where teachers give a more intensified study of yoga. However, a complete understanding is not necessary for general fitness and stress-reducing interests.
You can also find more kid-friendly yoga classes, geared toward family and community interaction. What classes would be best for you just depends on your interests and intentions, and finding the teacher who fits.
If you’re just looking for a fun and relaxing activity to do on your own time, videos are a great resource. Some of the best hatha yoga dvds are offered online.
Some things to consider when choosing a dvd are the lengths of workouts, variety or repetition in movements, and if you are looking for occasional use or would like a series where you can progress from beginner to more advanced workouts. Online reviews can also be helpful in finding a good match.