Hatha Yoga Poses and Their Benefits

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Hatha Yoga is a holistic way of achieving mastery over your body and mind. This further leads to health, joy, and happiness. Hatha yoga refers to the practice of physical asanas or yoga postures. Hatha yoga practices help to calm your body, mind, soul and prepare for the deeper meditation. It can be explained in two ways. ‘Ha’ means ‘Sun’ and ‘the’ means ‘Moon’. Hatha means balancing the sun and Moon energies in your body. It also means ‘forceful’ in Sanskrit. Because the ancient yogis believed that the yoga practice was challenging.

We have three main nadis in our body namely Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Ida spirals up the left side of the spine ending at the left nostril, whereas Pingala ending at the right nostril. Hatha yoga is the science of maintaining the balance between the Ida and Pingala to bring us to the higher consciousness of life. It also activates the third Nadi which is called Sushumna towards the path of enlightenment.

Hatha Yoga works on five principles to find the ultimate possibility in your life.

  • Proper Exercise
  • Proper Breathing
  • Proper Relaxation
  • Proper Diet
  • Positive Thinking and Meditation

The 12 basic asanas have more meaning than just the postures or stretching your body. It activates the chakras which are the pranic energy channels along with increasing the flexibility of the spine, stimulating the immune system and strengthening each body part. Moreover, it also helps to alleviate diabetes, arthritis, stress-related diseases, and sexual disorders. Regular practice of these 12 poses ensures to bring physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium in your body.

It’s always advisable to discuss with your doctor if you have recent or current medical conditions before you practice the 12 basic asanas of Hatha Yoga. Now, let’s move into each pose in detail.

1. Headstand (Sirsasana)

This asana is also known as the king of all asanas. Headstand flushes fresh nutrients and oxygen to the face, creating a glowing effect on the skin. Due to the increase in the blood flow and nutrients into your head and scalp, hair fall gets reduced. Since the adrenal glands are also flushed and detoxified with the regular practice of this pose, you can create positive thoughts. Depression, stress, and anxiety will reduce as you get upside down and smile will come to your face. This pose develops strong core muscles and eliminates the chances of strokes.

2. Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana)

An intermediate yoga pose in which the whole body is balanced on your shoulders. Sarvangasana is also called the mother or queen of all asanas since it is one of the oldest asanas and addresses every organ and chakra in your body. This asana helps to cure sinusitis, asthma, infertility and relieves the symptoms of menopause. It stimulates thyroid glands, parathyroid glands, the abdominal organs and helps to relieve stress, depression and calms your brain. 

3. Plough Pose (Halasana)

An inverted back-stretching pose which provides your entire back with a good stretch and brings flexibility and strength to your back muscles. It stimulates the reproductive organs, thyroid glands and strengthens the immune system of our body. This pose helps women during menopause. Moreover, it provides flexibility to the spine and effective for weight loss also. 

4. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

This is a back-bending sleeping pose that opens the chest, throat, abdomen and helps to cure thyroid disorders. Regular practicing of this pose can be a great way to regain the balance and flexibility of your neck and spine. It also helps to relieve constipation and menstrual pain. 

5. Sitting Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

This is a sitting pose that helps to calm your mind and relieve stress. This pose is generally practiced later in a sequence when the body gets warmed. Regular practice of this asana gives your entire body a good stretch and is effective for diabetes and high blood pressure. 

6. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

This is a back-bending yoga pose that stretches muscles in the shoulders, chest, abdominals and opens up the neck, and tones the abdomen and buttocks. It increases the flexibility of the spine and stimulates abdominal organs and thus improves digestion. This pose heals the diseases and awakens Kundalini which is the divine cosmic energy that brings self-realization. 

7. Locust Pose (Shalabhasana)

An intermediate backbend poses which provide your entire back with a good stretch and bring flexibility and strength to your back. This pose stretches out your spine, chest and helps to feel more energized. It stimulates internal organs and enhances blood circulation in the body. 

8. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

This is a back-stretching pose that helps to stimulate the reproductive organs and relieves the mensural discomfort with regular practice. It strengthens the back and abdominal muscles, tones legs, arm muscles and helps to open up your neck, chest, and shoulders. The function of the liver, pancreas, intestine problems and diabetes can be improved with the practice of this pose. 

9. Half Spinal Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

A powerful seated twist poses which provide various benefits for the entire body. When you twist your body in this pose, it increases the flexibility of your spine, relaxes the nervous system and calms our brain, tones the abdominal organs and improves the digestion. This asana brings many benefits to your body, mind, and soul. 

10. Crow Pose (Kakasana)

An arm balance poses which requires strength in arms and shoulders to perform this asana. Kakasana strengthens the muscles of arm, cores and promotes a good posture. It also tones and strengthens the upper arms, forearms, abdominal muscles and wrists. 

Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)

This is an effortless balancing pose that helps to build your arm strength, abdominal muscles, and concentration. It helps to detoxify the body, tones the digestive organs and removes constipation problems. 

11. Standing Forward Bend (Pada Hasthasana)

An intense forward stretch pose that provides your entire back muscles with a good stretch and brings flexibility and strength to your back. It helps to alleviate menopause and menstrual problems. Moreover, it also cures asthma, osteoporosis, sinusitis, infertility, and high blood pressure. 

12. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

This is a standing pose that helps to tone the legs, reduces stress and increases mental and physical equilibrium. This pose strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, chest, arms, and stretches and opens the hips, hamstrings, groins, calves, shoulders, chest and spine. 

The above classical Hatha yoga asanas have been designed for the systematic movement of every part of your body in a balanced way that can enhance your pranic force and keep you away from stress and lifestyle diseases. You need to take rest between the yoga postures during the session and at the end of the session to feel more energized and to provide your body with enough rest. Corpse pose or Savasana provides you a better relaxation. You can bring variations into each pose mentioned above after mastering the basic asanas completely to deepen your practice.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

The easiest pose in a yoga sequence, yet the hardest one. Because you need to relax your body, mind and need to restrain yourself from falling asleep while practicing. This pose improves concentration, memory and releases stress, depression, tension, and fatigue. It relaxes your whole-body muscles, calms your mind and improves mental health.

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