Hatha Yoga Teacher Training
So what does Hatha Yoga actually mean?
Well, there are a number of answers to the above question. In Sanskrit, “Ha” translates as “Moon” and “Tha” translates as “Sun”. The word “yoga” then translates as “to yoke” or “union”. Therefore the literal translation of Hatha Yoga means “the union of moon and sun”.
What does that signify? In yogic philosophy, it is belived that we have three main “nadis” or energy channels. One is called “ida nadi” and refers to the moonlike, passive, more female energy within ourselves. The other is “pingala nadi”, the fiercy, sunlike, more masculine energy we all have. The final nadi is called “sushumna” which relates to our central nervous system and it is thought that our consciousness flows through this central spinal channel. When the energies of the sun and moon are balanced, this consciousness, also referred to as kundalini energy, can flow freely through sushumna, taking us to the ultimate goal of yoga – “Samadhi`” or enlightenment.
Therefore, through the balancing of the female and male energies within ourselves we can reach the eighth limb of Patanjali’s path of Raja Yoga. And this is what we try to do by practising the former seven limbs – following the yamas and niyamas, having a regular asana and pranayama practice, meditating, concentrating on a single object and withdrawing the senses. Therefore, the main aim of our physical yoga practice is to bring these two opposite energy systems into balance.
The word “hatha” also has the same root as the word “hasta”, which translates as “hand”. Thus “hatha yoga” can also be translated as “forceful union” (of the sun and moon energies). Therefore, the term hatha yoga is often used to refer to the physical practice of yoga – the asana pratice. Whether you are practising yin yoga or power yoga, both of these, albeit very opposite in their outward appearance, can be classified as “hatha yoga”.
Hatha Yoga Classes
To complicate things further, the term “hatha yoga” is often used to define a specific style of physical asana practice. Like there is ashtanga yoga which refers the physically demanding practice of Pattabhi Jois, and Iyengar yoga which is the alignment focused method of B K S Iyengar and Anusara yoga which is John Friend’s heart-opening yoga; so too there is Hatha Yoga.
A Hatha Yoga class is usually at a gentle, relaxed pace, with longer holds than in the more dynamic forms of ashtanga, vinyasa or power yoga. It may include some sun saluations and perhaps a little pranayama or seated meditation, but focuses mainly on slow paced stretching and relaxing into poses. For this reason, it is a good choice for beginners or for students who want a more meditative practice. It enables one to become familiar with basic yogic postures and relaxation techniques whilst learning to quieten the mind.
Hatha Yoga Variations
But just as there are so many different types of yoga, so too are there many various hatha yoga classes. Some may be called “hatha flow”, which are similar to vinyasa yoga where the poses are linked together to create a moving sequence. Some hatha classes may include arm balances, which make them more physically challenging than those that focus more on forward folds. Others may be called “advanced hatha”, where more difficult poses such as handstands are introduced. At the end of the day, it all depends on the teacher.
Hatha Yoga Teacher Training
If you are looking into doing a overall general teacher training, then a Hatha Yoga Teacher Training may satisfy your needs. It will include anatomy, physiology, history, philosophy, etc, just like any other training. The physical asana practice will depend on the teacher, but will most certainly be at a slow pace. Poses may be held for as long at 2 minutes or only 10 breathes. The class structure may cover solely basic beginners poses or venture into more advanced variations.
It is always a good idea to contact the teacher and speak to him/her about your expectations of the training and what your aim to get out of it is. Definitely go to a couple of the teachers’ classes to see if you enjoy the way they teach and if the level is suitable for you.
However, if you prefer a more upbeat, sweaty practice, look into ashtanga, vinyasa, jivamukti, power or even a hot yoga teacher training.
And as always, make sure you are taking an accredited course with a recognized teacher.
Most importantly, enjoy the journey and remember to have fun along the way!.