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Welcome to Hatha Yoga

A Mindbody Practice Yoga is a mindbody practice of physical exercise with an inwardly directed contemplative focus (IDEA Mind-body Fitness Committee 1990 -2001). The key is combining muscular activity with “nonjudgmental mindfulness”.

yogaHatha Yoga is a centuries old, Eastern discipline that means “union”, referring to integration of mind, body, and spirit. The discipline of Hatha Yoga includes a wide variety of physical postures called asanas, which are performed seated, standing, or while lying prone or supine.

~Styles of Hatha Yoga There are several styles of Hatha Yoga, ranging from “power yoga” called Astranga; RestorativeYoga; which uses pillows, blankets, and other props to promote deep relaxation. Some other styles include Iyengar, which emphasizes precise alignment; Kripalu, which is taught in three stages: postures and breath, mental concentration, and moving meditation; Bikram Yoga, which teaches vigorous 90 minute classes in a 26-pose series in a studio heated to 90°-105°; Kundalini Yoga, which combines poses, breathing, chanting and meditation; and Vini yoga, which integrates breath and movement of the spine (often taught one-to-one).

~ My philosophy and teaching style: My classes focus upon: 1) breath (breathe in thru the nose and out thru the nose, slowly and deeply: this tells the parasympathetic nervous system that it is ok to calm down); 2) linking breath with movment and performing the asana in “good enough” alignment to reduce risk of injury (i.e. as precisely as possible for your body in the moment); 3) emphasis on non-judgmental attitude and “be here now”; 4) cueing is done in levels so you may choose what works best for your body in the moment; 5) alternative asanas or variations are given as needed; 6) class design borrows from several Hatha Yoga styles so you gain strength, flexibility, balance, and relaxation, eventually enabling the mind to quiet and still; 7) an emphasis on listening to your body and tuning in to its subtle cues which will enable you to progress safely at your own pace (never go past the point of gentle tension and never hold your breath. Remember, discomfort or pain means “stop”); 8) music is selected to enhance the “moving meditation” flow of class and enhance enjoyment and relaxation; 9) individual instruction can be arranged if you’d like to deepen your practice.

Indications and Research-supported Benefits of Hatha Yoga

Cardiorespiratory Benefits

  • Decreased resting systolic blood pressure
  • Increased pulmonary function
  • Improved respiratory function in patients with asthma
  • Increased parasympathetic tone, increased heat rate variability
  • Decreased blood lactate and resting oxygen consumption
  • Enhanced arterial endothelial function
  • Improved cardiovascular disease risk factor profile (e.g. reduced blood lipids)

Musculoskeletal Benefits

  • Increased muscular strength and flexibility
  • Increased neuromuscular balance
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased fracture risk and falls in seniors

Psychophysiological Benefits

  • Increased cognitive performance
  • Improved relaxation and psychological well-being
  • Decreased stress hormones (e.g., norepinephrine, cortisol)
  • Decreased anxiety and depression scores
  • Reduction in frequency of panic episodes
  • Reduced physiological and psychological response to threat or stress
  • Decreased symptoms associated with pain, angina, asthma, chronic fatigue
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Increased physical functioning in older persons
  • Improved glucose tolerance
  • Decreased HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) and C-peptide levels in type 2 diabetes
  • Decreased obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms
  • Decreased osteoarthritis symptoms
  • Decreased carpal tunnel symptoms

(La Forge, 2003; Khasla 2004, Qigong Database).