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yoga blog

ashtanga yoga? hatha yoga? it’s all sanskrit (and yoga) to us!

ashtanga yoga? hatha yoga? it’s all sanskrit (and yoga) to us!

“What does asana mean?” “Will my body ever bend that way?!” “What if I can’t move tomorrow?” These are all questions we hear from first-time students. Another frequent question: “What kind of yoga do you offer at evolation?”

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Usually people expect us to name a specific kind of yoga, like Ashtanga or Bikram. And while these distinctions can certainly be helpful in knowing what to expect during class, we’d rather focus on the fact that…it’s all yoga!

The Sanskrit word yoga comes from the root yuj, which means “to join, unite, or attach.” Yoga is all about finding and creating unity: unity between the mind and body; unity between your body’s systems; and even unity among people. Thus our goal is to emphasize that yoga is yoga, and everyone who practices is part of the same beautiful and ancient tradition. Yoga is about bringing us together, not about creating divisions.

but what the heck is hatha yoga?

Sometimes we will tell prospective students that we teach Hatha yoga, to give them some frame of reference. Hatha simply refers to any type of yoga that is based on classic postures and breathing exercises. Most classes offered in Western studios are in the Hatha tradition, which originated in the 15th century. Traditional Hatha practice includes not only asanas (poses), but also breathing, meditation, and purification.

"Yoga" comes from the Sanskrit word for "unity."

Hatha yoga focuses heavily on the physical body, which is why it’s excellent for anyone who wants to improve strength, balance, or poise. The goal is to use physical movement to clear the mind and prepare it for meditation.

Just about everyone can participate in Hatha yoga. Whether you’re a beginner, or pregnant, or have an artificial joint, you’ll be able to take a Hatha yoga class. And at evolation, that’s one of the many reasons we love it: it promotes inclusivity and unity, bringing together students of all levels and physical abilities. Ultimately, our vision is to create a community of yogis who can share in practice, growth, and love.

Have your own questions about yoga? Post them in the comments, and we’ll answer them here!

Amy Koller

I am a stay-at-home mom and full time online college student. I love meditation and practise yoga in my spare time. Bringing my inner self to peace is one of the things that makes me forget day to day problems.

  • http://www.richardshealthmusings.com Richard

    It is funny how our culture loves to label things and we try to apply that to all aspects of our lives. It is especially seen when we first meet someone and they ask what do you do…one of these days I am going to respond with, “I am a student on life’s journey of self-discovery.”

    Thanks for the quick share on the importance of Hatha yoga’s inclusivity and unity!

    Namaste,
    Richard

  • John Stones

    Awesome blog posted.

    Muladhara Chakra