Tag yoga postures

Hatha Yoga Dancer Pose

Taking on the dancer pose is a great addition to your yoga exercise workouts.

Think of dancers, and the predominant idea that will enter your mind is one of artistic grace. Dancers the world over are respected and appreciated not only for their command of their craft, but for the delicate beauty of their movements that can communicate a wealth of deeply varied emotions.

In Hatha Yoga, we have the Dancer Pose, also known as Lord of the Dance Pose or Natarajasana in Sanskrit (nata = dancer or actor, raja = king, asana = pose).

The “king” in the Sanskrit name refers to Shiva, one of the Hindu deities, known to be their supreme god. Shiva is linked to Hatha Yoga, and is also known to be a “cosmic dancer” in one of his forms. This form is in keeping with much of Hindu culture that incorporates a lot of celebratory dancing in daily life.

Qualities of the Dancer Pose

Fittingly for the purposes of Hatha Yoga as a fitness discipline, the Dancer Pose is unique in the sense that it develops and focuses not only on the external part of the body such as the limbs (which is typical for most the of the other poses done under Hatha Yoga), but also on the internal organs, most notably the kidney and the lungs.

Demonstration of the Dancer Pose

Benefits of the Dancer Pose

  • Mental – this pose, with its subtle effect on using graceful strength as a means of conditioning the body, also conditions the mind to be calm and gentle in making decisions.
  • Physical – parts of the human anatomy that receive focus from this pose include the Shoulders, Spine, Chest, Pelvis, Knees and Ankles, strengthening them, and stretching the Groins, Thighs, and Abdomen.
  • Spiritual – as is appropriate with real life dancing, the pose develops physical balance, which in turn, leads to a more poised disposition.

Safety Alert

This pose is not recommended for yoga practitioners who have low blood pressure.

Besides the physical benefits of strength, the Dancers Pose offers you positive effects to your internal organs and is just one of the 70 different Hatha Yoga demo videos that you’ll have at your disposal when you subscribe to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter. In the next article of this guide we’ll look at how the “Camel Pose” can help you to become more protective, versatile and resilient.

Yoga Plank Pose

If you love planking, you'll love the yoga plank pose.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years, we’re pretty much sure that you’re aware of that activity known as the Lying Down Game or Planking, that involves stiffly lying face down in the most incongruous or unexpected locations, just for the heck of it.

While Planking was, and still is, considered mostly as a simple viral online meme, there’s a another form of “plank mimicry” that can be used for seriously attaining health and wellness.

In Hatha Yoga, we have the Yoga Plank Pose, or Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana in Sanskrit (uttihita = extended, chaturanga = four limbed, and dandasana = staff pose). It does not require a full stiff, face down posture. Rather, it emphasizes the need to maintain balance while facing the ground, even as you keep as much distance between it and your chest.

Qualities of the Yoga Plank Pose

Unlike in the Lying Down Game which is mostly just a comic social game, the plank pose in Hatha Yoga is meant to underscore fitness by providing the yoga practitioner with a sense of the importance of stability, alignment, and strength.

The Yoga Plank Pose is also known by another Sanskit name, Kumbhakasana, which means “empty teapot.” This is with reference to the efforts of some advanced yoga practitioners to exhale completely while striving to maintain the plank pose, with the end goal of developing tolerance for the lack of air (conditioning the mind and body to stay disciplined and focused even under trying situations).

Demonstration of the Yoga Plank Pose

Benefits of the Yoga Plank Pose

  • Mental – the Yoga Plank Pose is great for challenging the limits set by the mind as to how far it can withstand pressure from a demanding situation.
  • Physical – the focus of the Yoga Plank Pose is on firming and strengthening the abdomen, and making the spine, arms, and wrists stronger.
  • Spiritual – the Yoga Plank Pose is advantageous for those who want to test their resistance and endurance to discomfort. In doing so, a certain level of patience and calmness is achieved.

Safety Alert

The Yoga Plank Pose is contraindicated for those with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

If this is your first time reading this, you’ll want to read through out this entire guide at least one time and of course, have your doctors clearance for doing these yoga poses, before you attempt doing them on your own.

The Hatha Yoga demonstration videos that you get when you subscribe to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter will be useful for you to witness how the poses are done; which is much easier than just reading about how they are done. Next we’ll move on to the “Tree Pose” where you can experience solidity in being rooted.

Chair Yoga Poses

The chair yoga pose can make you stronger and more stable.

If you’re ready to let your imagination run free and obtain some physical stability in your life, you’ll want to read on and check out what doing “Chair Yoga Poses” can do for you.

Think back to the time when you were young, and your imagination was a dominant force in your life. What you could imagine was real and had power. You can still do that now with the Chair Yoga Poses.

Qualities of the Chair Yoga Pose

To those unfamiliar with the gentle ways of Hatha Yoga, the pose might seem to be an extremely painful position to assume. After all, the first impression that one gets upon seeing a yogi using the Chair Yoga Poses is that he or she is starting to sit, does get seated, and will then start to rise from a chair – an imaginary chair.

It looks as if a gigantic or intense effort is being made to do the postures involved, and that’s why in Hatha Yoga, we have the Chair Yoga Poses, or Utkatasana in Sanskrit (utkata = intense, gigantic, and asana = pose) as being representative or symbolic of the actions of the mind to control one’s surroundings through physical exertion.

Demonstration of One of the Chair Yoga Poses

Benefits of the Chair Yoga Poses

  • Mental – this yoga pose shifts the interest of the mind to maintaining balance, thereby giving life to the concept of willpower, or striving for success amidst great odds.
  • Physical – the center of attention of this pose is on the thighs, but it can also benefit other parts of the body such as the chest and shoulders, the spine, the thighs and the legs, while stimulating the diaphragm, the heart, and the organs in the abdomen.
  • Spiritual – holding this yoga posture requires intense concentration. The more frequent that high levels of concentration are achieved, the more that portals leading to enlightenment become opened.

Safety Alert

This pose is not recommended for people with low blood pressure, recurrent headaches or insomnia.

See the two other “Chair Yoga Poses” that you get when you subscribe to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter. Do that now and then move on to the “Triangle Pose” if you’d like to start seeing your legs in a new light.

Warrior Pose

In this section of Hatha Yoga we'll practice the Warrior Pose.

It may seem absurdly contradictory for the word “warrior” to be associated with a gentle fitness discipline like Hatha Yoga. However, it is not the extreme belligerence or even ferocious cruelty that is connected to a fighter that is advocated or implied in the Warrior Pose.

In Hatha Yoga, we have the Warrior Pose, also known as Virabhadra’s Pose (Virabhadra is a “super-being,” a Spiritual Warrior), to remind practitioners of the need to cultivate a strong dislike for self-ignorance.

Of the Hatha Yoga poses, it can be said that the Warrior Pose is among those which strongly nurture the importance of having a clear mind and a strong body to achieve a high spiritual level.

Qualities of the Warrior Pose

In the article that discussed the four basic yoga poses, it was clarified how there is nothing even remotely threatening about the warrior pose…

Does this sound more like what you were expecting, or does the sound of this basic Hatha Yoga pose raise your hackles? Whatever your initial reaction may be, you will find out once you practice this pose that there is nothing even remotely threatening about it. As far as basic yoga poses go, the Warrior pose is meant for making your arms, shoulders, thighs, muscles of the back, as well as your ankles, stronger, thereby putting you in the right groove for further fitness development.

The truth behind this statement can be proven in the extensiveness of body parts toward which this pose can prove beneficial, from the head to the feet:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Lungs
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Abdomen
  • Groin
  • Thighs
  • Legs
  • Ankles

The Warrior Pose takes care of the body’s welfare, to allow you to be able to concentrate more fully on your main task at hand; the arousal of knowledge and wisdom, and the strengthening of your spirituality.

Demonstration of the Hatha Yoga Warrior Pose

Benefits of the Warrior Pose

  • Mental – fuller concentration and higher levels of determination
  • Physical – expands chest and lungs, stretches neck and shoulders, develops back muscles, and makes the thighs, legs and feet stronger
  • Spiritual – develops endurance of spirit

Safety Alert

The Warrior Pose is not recommended for people who have cardiovascular problems, hypertension, and preexisting shoulder and neck problems. Preexisting problems should be cleared only upon the advice of a medical doctor. Of course, that goes for any of the poses discussed in this Hatha Yoga guide.

That wraps up this section on the “Warrior Pose” so be sure to head over to our home page and subscribe to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter to get access to the video above as well as 69 other Hath Yoga pose videos and get started with these postures. Next, we’ll dive into doing “Chair Yoga Poses” and open your mind to obtaining more stability in your life.

Flow Yoga

Use Flow Yoga to enlighten your conscious.

Sometimes, there exists a small, yet niggling, level of confusion regarding the difference between a yoga pose and a yoga style. This has been specifically evident when it comes to discussing Flow Yoga.

Is flow yoga a pose under Hatha Yoga, or are they two radically different styles? To understand better, let’s first familiarize ourselves with the nature of each.

Hatha Yoga vis-à-vis Flow Yoga

As you have previously read, Hatha Yoga is all about the union of two disparate or dissimilar elements, specifically the mind and the body. When both are working in harmony, a greater level of spiritual equilibrium is achieved. Overall fitness then results.

Meanwhile, Flow Yoga, or Ashtanga Vinyasa in Sanskrit (ashtanga = eight limbs of yoga, vinyasa = breathing), refers to the action of connecting breathing with each yoga pose’s movement, as it transitions from one to the other. Flow or vinyasa yoga has six poses, each one flowing or transitioning gently to the other.

Hatha Yoga’s poses are mostly static and timed. Transitional breathing is not a major feature, unlike in vinyasa or flow yoga.

Flow yoga is derived from Hatha Yoga but they have certain noticeable differences:

  • Hatha Yoga is more deliberate or slower in execution, compared to flow yoga that is slightly faster, because of the transitory poses that appear to the uninitiated as one flowing posture
  • vinyasa or flow yoga does not involve solitary postures, but a series of poses that flow smoothly
  • the gentler and slower pace of Hatha Yoga makes it perfect for those who are simply starting to learn yoga. In contrast, the fast pace of flow yoga makes it seem similar to an invigorating cardiovascular workout, particularly when you factor in the fact that rhythmic breathing is greatly involved. Rhythmic breathing refers to inhalation and exhalation that is timed and/or synchronized with the start or release of a pose (the “flow) into another pose.

Video Demonstration of Flow Yoga:

Eight Limbs of Yoga

Yoga is not simply about posing this way and that, as a form of exercise. There is a whole philosophy behind yoga, and that is why it is important to know at this point the eight limbs of yoga – characteristics that point towards the fulfillment of life, in terms of physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

Yama – ethical guidelines or moral directions that you need to observe, as far as relating to your fellow humans is concerned.

These yamas include:

  • ahimsa or non-violence in actions, words, and thoughts
  • satya or truthfulness
  • asteya or not stealing/taking what is not yours
  • brahmacharya or purity (some interpret this as sexual abstinence, while others believe it to be about abstaining from acting out on impure sexual impulses)
  • aparigraha or not coveting

Niyama – while the yamas are outward-directed, niyamas are directed towards the self: they are ethical guidelines or moral directions that you need to observe, in relation to how you regard yourself:

  • saucha or cleanliness of body and thoughts
  • santosa or self-contentment
  • tapas or continued practice
  • svadhyaya or self-study
  • isvara pranidhana or yielding to a higher power

Asana – the yoga postures that need to be practiced:

  • Pranayama – breathing exercises
  • Pratyahara – ingress into your internal self, not allowing external distractions to take hold of you
  • Dharana – total focus or concentration
  • Dhayana – meditation or all-inclusive concentration
  • Samadhi – transcendence or mastery of the self; total fitness of mind, body, spirit leading to enlightenment.

The sample demonstration video above gives you a look at Flow Yoga and the movement or transition into various poses. Be sure to subscribe to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter to get access to the Flow Yoga video above plus 69 additional demonstration poses. Next, we’ll investigate how “Yoga for Runners” can add value to your life.

Important Hatha Yoga Benefits

Hatha Yoga benefits your life in many ways.

Hatha Yoga as a means of achieving fitness is very special because as explained in the introduction section, Hatha Yoga benefits do not just concentrate on one aspect of your being. It has a threefold approach to nurturing and protecting your whole being, encompassing the physical, mental, and spiritual; providing both preventive and therapeutic benefits.

How Hatha Yoga Benefits Impulse Control

Addiction to smoking and drinking are hard to get rid of, the same with over-eating or over-sleeping. But just by simply practicing Hatha Yoga you can see for yourself how your body will effectively eliminate cravings and flush out the toxins from your body.

Other Hatha Yoga benefits include its ability to relieve some painful symptoms that occur in illnesses and diseases such as: arthritis, chronic fatigue, diabetes, asthma, obesity, and even AIDS. Hatha Yoga has also been proven to counter or slow down the effects of body ravaging as people grow older.

How Hatha Yoga Benefits Cleansing and Purification

Hatha Yoga postures and breathing methods purify your physical body to the extent that you become stronger, more flexible, and more toned. At the same time, you become more focused, giving your mind the serenity it is entitled to have.

Hatha Yoga also helps to relax your muscles, freeing your mind from distracting pain and sharpening your concentration.

No Age Barriers to Enjoy Hatha Yoga Benefits

Hatha Yoga can work for various ages. It has no age limitations, and is great for both the young and those who are more mature. With its near-perfect fitness routines, it keeps you in shape, invigorates your body, perfects your coordination, and makes you one with yourself; a concept and reality that will become clearer as we progress in our study of Hatha Yoga.

All of these make it distinctly different from all other forms of exercise. For one thing, the motion generated by Hatha Yoga causes no strain and imbalances in your body. Although it is not entirely aerobic, it can involve all parts of the muscles in your body, challenging your body by way of making your limbs function as free weights.

Weight resistance comes from the center of your body’s gravity, strengthening you and making you more capable of continuing more poses that can be held for long periods of time.

How Hatha Yoga Benefits – It’s Quality Over Quantity

Unlike most work out regimes, Hatha Yoga focuses more on quality over quantity. Learning and developing self-discipline is a major part of Hatha Yoga as is developing coordination and helping improve both concentration and memory.

More regular practice improves flexibility as years go by.

The discipline that’s integral to yoga helps practicing teenagers to have inner strength to say “no” to negative influences. On the other hand, older people can retain mobility and will be able to cope better with conditions such as arthritis and poor blood circulation.

For pregnant women, not all Hatha Yoga poses are recommended. However, those poses that are can promote good health for both the mother and her unborn child. In addition, pregnancy is a very good time for meditation.

Overall, Hatha Yoga benefits everyone who makes it their regular exercise routine without their active lifestyle being affected or degraded in any way. Now you can get the full set of Hatha Yoga poses when you subscribe to the MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter. In the next article we’ll take a closer look at “Doing Basic Hatha Yoga Poses” for some yoga postures to get you started.