Hatha yoga is a form of yoga that combines concentrating on postures, or asanas, and breath control, or pranayama. A combination of the word “ha” meaning sun and “tha” meaning moon, hatha yoga is typically thought of as the form of yoga that brings together the “pairs of opposites.” It is also sometimes referred to as forceful yoga because it is involves doing the most physical exercises of all forms of yoga.
One article I found while researching for this article suggests that hatha yoga is really a reference to any of the physical types of yoga practice. So if you like Iyengar yoga, you’re doing hatha yoga, or if you like Bikram yoga, you’re doing hatha yoga. But then the majority of the other articles I read suggest that hatha is its own separate form. For the purposes of this article, I’ll go with the notion that hatha yoga is a separate type of yoga, but if any yoga experts are reading this and would like to weigh in on the topic in the comment section below, I’d welcome your feedback. My feeling is that probably in our country we interchange the two, but in other parts of the world hatha yoga is thought of as being something very distinct and different from other types.
Wikipedia.org’s article on hatha yoga said this type of yoga is a system of yoga that was introduced by Yogi Swatmarama way back in 15th century India. He put together the hatha yoga pradipika, which was a treatise in which Swatmarama talked about hatha yoga as a “preparatory stage of physical purification that the body practices for higher mediation.”
According to the Hatha Yoga website, which quotes from a Hatha Yoga magazine, how to do proper breathing is the main theme of hatha yoga practice. This form of breathing called mindful yoga breathing helps to increase oxygen intake, reduce carbon dioxide levels, and feel more relaxed.
The most common form of basic yoga breathing is the full yogic breath. To do this, inhale through your nose and feel your belly fill with air, and keep on inhaling into your chest and rib areas too. Then exhale through your nose, emptying these three areas of all air.