Yoga is thousands of years old, and has been modified over time to adapt to modern society. These modifications and variations of velocity, temperature, the order of the positions and several other changes have created many different “styles” of yoga. There is a somewhat modern style of yoga known as Ashtanga yoga, but the original Ashtanga yoga refers to the eight limbs of Hatha yoga, which are aimed at controlling the body and mind to achieve lasting health, harmony and balance life.
The first branch of Hatha yoga is known as “yama”, which means “restraint” in Sanskrit. before bringing out the yoga mat to stretch and tone the body , yoga asks you to first look at your own life with honesty and clarity. According to Yoga Journal, “the Yamas deal with ethical standards and a sense of personal integrity.” The five Yamas are ahimsa, satya, asteya, aparigraha and brahmacharya, which are non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, coveting, and moderation in all things, including celibacy. The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Organization refers to the Yamas and the “don’ts” of yoga, because if you do these five things, your life can be out of balance and your ability to practice yoga with efficiency decreases.
After examining your life and way of behavior, the next step in the Hatha Yoga practice is to start the Niyamas. The niyamas, or observances, are the second branch and the “doing” of Hatha yoga. These five observances are saucha, santosha, tapas, and pranidhana swadhyaya ishwara – cleanliness or purity, contentment, austerity, study of sacred texts and living constantly being aware of the divine presence. Continue reading “Types of Hatha Yoga”