Hatha vs. Vinyasa Yoga

If you ever look at the schedule at the gym, you’ll notice there is one class Monday evening called Hatha and one on Wednesday evening called Vinyasa. For some, this means something. For others, it means little to nothing. Let’s break down those differences!

Hatha is a Sanskrit word that can mean “to be stubborn or tenacious.” With this in mind, Monday’s class takes a deep look at yoga asanas (poses) and hold them for a length of time. This could be a nice stretchy, yummy asana, or it could be a strong, strenuous asana. While some people might feel this is boring, others find it a time to allow their bodies to grow, breath, and relax in ways they might not have been able to before. They also use this time to practice their discipline of the mind. Here, people who practice like to work the muscles in the brain by achieving a sense of calmness in the mind. They choose to not focus on anything but their breath. They choose to turn their gaze inward, visualize their muscles working, and see themselves improving. This level of mindfulness is a great way to stretch the brain. How does it do this? By choosing to focus on tiny muscles in your body, you are forcing the synapses in your brain to fire. This transmits along your neurons, forming new connections in the brain to old muscles you have simply forgotten about. The forming of new connections not only helps strengthen the brain, but also helps improve many other aspects, such as recalling information, being able to calm down/de-stress faster, and improve that brain fog so many of us face.

Vinyasa is actually two Sanskrit words that mean “to be placed in a special way.” In this style of yoga, we are constantly moving from one pose to another, matching the movement to our breath. This shift in mentality alone is challenging for some. The breath is something that often gets overlooked during any kind of workout. During this practice, the breath is as important as any of the asanas, as it is the key for stability, maximizing blood flow, as well as endurance. This is a dynamic practice that can be done by beginners if they have good mobility. If you are brand new to yoga, I would suggest getting a few other classes under your belt before you join, just so you have some familiarity with the asanas, as the class does move quickly. Many people teach Vinyasa in many different ways. On Wednesdays we start with a simple warm-up that allows your joints and muscles to get that synovial fluid moving, then we add one asana at a time until we have our final sequence that is filled with many different asanas that flow beautifully together.

Feel comfortable knowing the differences? Go and take one of the classes for yourself! Classes are $5 per class, or you can purchase a punch card with 10 classes for $40. Still have some questions? Feel free to reach out to the instructor, Jeffrey Conger, via phone at 480-442-3566 or via email at [email protected]. Jeffrey is a 200-hour certified yoga instructor.