Namaste Yoga has always identified itself with Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, but a quick google search of either of those terms will reveal...about a gazillion different definitions and translations. So today, we thought we’d dig in and explore the meaning of the terms Hatha and Vinyasa, and their connection to Namaste Yoga.
It seems like every yoga term has multiple meanings and Hatha is no exception. The word Hatha has been translated in different ways: it can mean “force” or “willfullness” or a joining of the two words “sun” (ha) and “moon” (tha), which reflects the concept of yoga as a practice that brings harmony and balance to the different parts of our being.
Okay, so that’s the translation, but what does it look like? Hatha Yoga is actually what most people think of when they think yoga – the practice of physical postures like downward dog and mountain pose. In that sense, almost every style of yoga is Hatha Yoga!
Walk into a yoga studio though, and chances are they’ll have “Hatha Yoga” classes listed along with other yoga styles like “Ashtanga” and “Yin”. Technically those other classes are Hatha as well, but in this context Hatha Yoga usually refers to gentler classes that focus on learning the basic postures. So, when we refer to Season 1 and 2 of Namaste Yoga as Hatha, we are talking about yoga that is appropriate to all-levels and has a focus on learning individual poses.
Since Hatha can have a more general meaning, Vinyasa is the term that might better describe Namaste Yoga’s unique style. Like Hatha, Vinyasa has several meanings including ‘breath-synchronizing movement’, ‘connection’ or any systematic arrangement or progression. Vinyasa can also refer to the specific pose sequence of chaturanga – upward-facing dog – downward-facing dog.
As a yoga style, Vinyasa is about flowing between poses in time with the breath – hence its other name, Flow Yoga. In Vinyasa, every inhale and exhale is tied to physical movements, which helps to connect the mind and body, and creates a form of moving meditation.
Seasons 1-3 are all Vinyasa, but we call Kate’s seasons Hatha/Vinyasa because of their focus on learning key poses through repetition, while Erica’s sequences are closer to Power/Vinyasa since they contain more challenging poses that strengthen and tone the body. Hopefully, one of them will be the flow that works best for you!
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