There are many modern variations on the ancient practice of yoga, ranging from Bikram yoga to power yoga to laughter yoga. Still, the most accessible form of yoga is also the most familiar to American ears: Hatha Yoga. At the most elemental level, a hatha yoga class involves slow-paced stretching, simple breathing exercises, basic poses, and relaxation techniques.
Virtually anyone can benefit from yoga: mothers and pregnant women of all ages, out-of-shape male and female baby boomers alike, and seniors concerned about arthritis, poor circulation, and the loss of flexibility, come to mind.
The physical benefits derived from the practice of yoga are indeed real, but of at least equal value are the advantages that yoga conveys to your mind and spirit.
One source describes hatha yoga as a “near-perfect fitness routine.” It includes improving flexibility and mobility, correcting posture, increasing circulation, boosting the immune response, alleviating joint and back pain and stiffness, facilitating better digestion and breathing, increasing stamina and balance, and encouraging weight loss.
The regular practice of hatha yoga releases many physical tensions arising from hours of sitting, both at work and home. But, more importantly, these physical benefits reap powerful mental and spiritual rewards. By increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain, yoga gives you more energy and vitality, and its meditation exercises provide you with an increased ability to concentrate. By teaching you how to relax, yoga promotes sound, restorative sleep. It improves the mind and body’s strength and flexibility, focuses your attention, and frees your spirit.
Hatha Yoga is an equal-opportunity regimen, in that nowadays you can learn how to do it in a classroom or your home with the help of DVDs, websites, or books.
Through Hatha Yoga, you can discover a dimension within and for yourself.
Whether practiced in the company of others or alone, you can experience remarkable benefits. It’s a simple act of letting your body, mind, and spirit exist, serenely, restoratively, in the exquisite calm of your very own, private, peaceful, quiet space.
Once you start looking, you’ll find an abundance of physical locations where you can learn Hatha Yoga. There are private studios and informal get-togethers around the greater Wichita area. Fortunately, you don’t even need to leave your home as you can practice along with classes offered by our local PBS station.