When we think of yoga, we imagine a person sitting in a lotus meditating for hours or doing the handstand and other acrobatic feats worthy of the best tightrope walkers. Fortunately yoga is much more accessible than that… So what exactly is Hatha Yoga?
Hatha Yoga, Hatha-Yoga or even Hathayoga designates in Sanskrit the union (Yoga) of the energies of the body (Ha) and of the mind (Tha), of the sun and the moon, of the yang and yin energies. It is the traditional form of yoga most practised in the West. Relaxation, postures, work on breathing and concentration … An update with Céline Ubico, co-director of the French Yoga Federation.
What is Hatha yoga?
Traditional Hatha Yoga is a gentle, non-competitive method of yoga. “It is practised gently and slowly, in the pleasure” , summarizes Céline Ubico. This discipline, which is as complete as it is accessible, does not require flexibility or high-level endurance since it adapts to the possibilities, conditions and ages of each individual and offers almost unlimited potential for progress. It is the easiest method to discover and tame yoga. With this physical activity in its own right, there is also no risk of injuring yourself or traumatizing your joints since the number one principle is listening to yourself.
Who can practice?
Hatha yoga is accessible to everyone! Provided and supervised by a professional when you are a beginner, Céline Ubico advises the practice of traditional Hatha Yoga at all ages of life: ” like a game for children and even on a chair for the very old” . Whether you are a man or a woman (even pregnant), a schoolboy, a student, working or retired, you will understand: there is no age to start… and to continue this practice.
On the other hand, for a young person in good physical condition, Céline Ubico recommends opting instead for Vinyasa Yoga, a dynamic method.
The contraindications of hatha yoga
Even if there are very few medical contraindications to the practice of Hatha Yoga (recent surgery, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, pathological pregnancy, etc.), you should always seek advice from your family doctor. If you suffer from a particular part of the body ( cervical, lumbar …), do not hesitate to tell your teacher who will then adapt the postures and sequences to your condition, some “asanas” may be inadvisable.
How does a Hatha Yoga session take place?
A traditional hatha yoga session usually lasts between 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minutes. There are several levels from beginner to advanced. It is a question of chaining and maintaining for several minutes various postural exercises (asanas) more or less complicated. Added to this is the control of breath, respiration (pranayama) and concentration.
Most of the time, the session begins and above all ends with ten minutes of relaxation, meditation and relaxation, most often lying down, a moment of transition before returning to one’s daily activity. Depending on the region, prices vary from 10 to 30 € per session in group lessons.
What are the benefits of Hatha Yoga?
After a month of practice, we can already feel the first benefits of yoga and meditation, that is to say, according to Céline Ubico, ” a feeling of calm, well-being and serenity. It maintains the body and relaxes it. mental. It is a real source of balance: between physical and spiritual, strength and flexibility, determination and acceptance “ . Especially since this discipline rubs off very quickly on the hygiene of life.
In the short and long term, we can expect to see a boost in energy, reduce stress (whether emotional or physical), improve flexibility, draw muscles, work on memory, concentration and training. posture, fall asleep and sleep quality, develop their breathing capacities, better manage tensions and balance their daily lives, in short, achieve a certain level of fitness and overall well-being. All of this is obviously only possible on the condition of fully living your yoga and getting involved body and soul, not just going to your weekly classes as a dilettante while waiting for the results to appear with the minimum of effort. and bodily and spiritual investment. Yoga advocates moderation and wisdom, it would indeed be inappropriate to indulge in it while abusing your health ( alcohol, tobacco) or maintaining risky behaviours at the same time.
How to choose your teacher?
For good hatha yoga classes, Céline Ubico recommends choosing a teacher “certified by the French Yoga Federation. It is essential that he has a diploma validating at least 200 hours of training in an organization approved by the Yoga Alliance”. According to her, “a good teacher must listen to his students and put himself within the reach of everyone, know how to adapt his teaching to the temperaments and morphologies of the participants” .
To find the class or teacher that suits you best, ask to participate or attend several trial sessions. You can also consult the directory of certified teachers made available by UNY (National Yoga Union), FNEY (National Federation of Yoga Teachers) and FIDHY (Inter-Teaching Federation of Hatha Yoga). If you have any doubts about the skills or qualifications of a teacher, you can contact the training organization they claim to have trained with as well as one of the organizations mentioned above. If you fear possible sectarian aberrations on the part of a teacher or a school, contact Miviludes immediately.