Introduction to Hatha
Hatha yoga is a branch of yoga that focuses on physical postures, breathwork, and meditation to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The word „hatha“ is derived from two Sanskrit words, „ha“ and „tha,“ which represent the active and passive sides of our being. „Ha“ represents the sun, which is associated with activity, strength, and vitality, while „tha“ represents the moon, which is associated with receptivity, calmness, and relaxation.
In hatha yoga, the aim is to balance the two opposing forces of the sun and the moon, the active and passive aspects of our being, to create harmony and promote overall well-being. This is done through a variety of physical postures, or asanas, that are designed to balance and activate the body’s nervous system.
Yoga and the nervous system
The nervous system is a complex network of nerves and cells that transmit signals throughout the body. There are two main branches of the nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system is associated with the fight or flight response, which is activated in response to stress or danger. This response increases heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, preparing the body for action. The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, is associated with the rest and digest response, which promotes relaxation and healing.
In hatha yoga, certain postures are designed to activate the sympathetic nervous system, while others are designed to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. For example, backbends, inversions, and standing poses are generally more stimulating and activate the sympathetic nervous system, while forward folds, restorative poses, and seated postures are more calming and activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
By incorporating both active and passive postures into a hatha yoga practice, we can balance and activate both sides of the nervous system, creating a sense of harmony and well-being in both body and mind.