Hatha is often used as an umbrella term for a yoga class in most fitness studios and gyms. While Hatha technically translates to mean stubborn or forceful, Hatha yoga classes are often fairly gentle and very accessible to all fitness levels.
Hatha yoga offers a number of health benefits that go beyond those produced by other forms of exercise, such as increased energy and improved fitness levels. When looking more specifically at the slower-paced form of Hatha yoga – compared to other, more vigorous practices – there are a number of key health benefits backed by substantial medical research.
Hatha yoga benefits
The primary Hatha yoga benefits include improved balance, improved core strength and enhanced flexibility.
Don’t discount the benefits of an improved sense of balance. Improving your balance will have an ongoing impact on both your everyday life as well as other training or exercise. Everything from high-intensity weight training moves like CrossFit or calisthenics, to helping you stay fit and mobile later on in life.
A small study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information journal saw a small group of 34 men complete a five-month Hatha yoga program. The authors of the study found a significant improvement in the postural control in healthy young adults which was attributed to a Hatha yoga practice.
Hatha yoga incorporates a number of poses that will help develop and strengthen your core muscles. From plank variations to warrior poses, each of these will require you to engage your core in order to effectively hold the pose. Over time your core muscles will become stronger, giving you all manner of health benefits including improving your posture and protecting your back.
You’ll often hear people say they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible. But taking a regular Hatha yoga class is one of the best ways to get flexible and then stay flexible. The more classes you attend, the greater your flexibility and range of motion will become. Everything from forward folds to warrior poses and lunges help to strengthen and lengthen your muscles and improve your mobility and flexibility.
Hatha yoga classes typically have you work to roughly 70% of your current range of motion, so as to not put too much stress or tension on your muscles. With regular practice and attention to good form, you’ll start to see improvements fairly quickly.