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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hatha Yoga

Taken from googleimages

According to the book, El Yoga Contado con Sencillez, by Ramiro Calle (which I read from cover to cover), hatha yoga comes from:
  • ha (positive energy)
  • tha (negative energy)
These words stand for the two energy poles in the body that hatha yoga attempts to harmonize and reconcile.  

The purpose of yoga, according to the book, is to unify the "energy currents" in the body to establish a healthy physical and mental state. Through yoga you can control your body and your mind whereby producing a perfectly balanced individual. 

Sounds great right?

I go to yoga at a local community center and only pay 10€ ($14.67) a month! I go twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays. We practice both the asanas (postures) of yoga as well as breathing and relaxation techniques. (I will discuss the relaxation techinques in today's Daily Fitness Tip).

Asanas--proper technique
  • When performng the asanas, and coming out of them, it's important that the movements are done slowly and deliberately.
  • You should breathe through your nose and said breathing should also be slow and deliberate.
  • The mind should actively concentrate on either the asana, your breathing, or your body.  
  • Don't allow your mind to wander.
  • Make sure you perform the asanas on an empty stomach and wear loose-fitting clothing. In addition, the floor shouldn't be too hard or too soft. Most people use a yoga mat.
  • You should rest after each asana before going on to the next.
Each session should contain:
  1. A few minutes of warm up, usually in the form of stretching the body.
  2. Asanas
  3. Breathing techniques
  4. Relaxation techniques

Heres a list of all the asanas I've done so far. I'm probably leaving something out but we do something new everyday and I have to translate the names from Spanish to English!

Conscious breathing

There are five types of breathing tecniques that I've tried. They are all hard. Something simple like breathing is made a lot more complex in yoga. These breathing techniques are essential when performing the relaxation techniques as well. They are all done typically in the corpse pose unless indicated otherwise.

  1. Abdominal--Breath in slowly through the nose and direct the air towards the stomach. It helps to stimulate and massage the organs in the stomach and abdomen, sedates the nervous system and lowers anxiety.
  2. Intercostal--Inhale through the nose and direct the air towards the chest and your sides. Then exhale through the nose. It helps to tone the muscles in the torso and helps to prevent lung disorders.
  3. Complete--Inhale slowly through the nose directing the air towards the stomach. Continue to breathe in and direct the air towards your chest and your sides, the thorax and clavicles. The inhalation should be slow and uninterrumpted. The air should start in the abdomen then reach the chest. Exhale first emptying the abdomen followed by the chest.
  4. Alternate nostril--(This should be done seated with your back against the wall) Basically it consists of inhaling through one nostril by closing the opposite nostril. Close the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Immediately close the left nostril with your ring and pinky finger and exhale through the right nostril. It helps with relaxation.
  5. Rhythmic--Peform a complete breath (detailed above), hold the air in as long as you can, then exhale completely. Hold with your lungs empty as long as you can. It also helps with reaching a state of relaxation.

I love yoga! I like how it loosens my body with the asanas as well as my mind with the breathing and relaxation techniques. I wish I could do yoga everyday. In fact, I can and will try harder to incorporate it into my workout regimen when I'm not in class. Two days a week isn't nearly enough. In today's Daily Fitness Tip I will go over how the relaxation techniques I use and how they help me.

Hopefully this brief introduction to yoga was helpful. Leave a comment! I will talk a lot more about yoga and my experiences with it in the future. If you're still not convinced to give it a try check this out. Yoga is useful on SO many levels.

I read the book I mentioned above before trying yoga. I'd been thinking about it for some time but wanted a bit more information on the origins of it and the different types of yoga out there. I recommend everyone do their own research.


  1. I have a friend in JP (jamaica plain) that says she will comp me some yoga classes. I keep trying to get into yoga and I am procrastinating since I have no one to do it with. However, I really should incorporate it into my daily regimen since I am always tight and stressed. Are there any American yoga books you would recommend? Or just something about Hatha yoga would suffice? Maybe I'll get it on my Kindle...

  2. I understand. It's best with a buddy but if I waited around for someone to exercise with I would NEVER exercise! Just be brave and confident and ask a lot of questions and people will appreciate you. That's what I did anyway. As for American yoga books...I'm not sure. I'm not expert but I'll see if the one I read has been translated into English. Good question.

  3. The book is not in English. He's the Spanish yoga guru by the way. I did a search for the most famous yoga books on Amazon.com and found this book on Hatha yoga:


    Check it out.