Comparing Vinyasa Yoga & Hatha Yoga

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Aren’t Vinyasa Yoga & Hatha Yoga the Same Thing?

Two very distinct styles of yoga are Vinyasa yoga and Hatha yoga. In this article, we will explore the differences between the two. All yoga brings tremendous benefits to the body, mind and spirit. Practicing yoga is relaxing, energizing, and cleansing. It is a discipline that reduces stress, tones and strengthens the muscles, loosens arthritic joints, increases flexibility, and assists in good circulation. Your choice in yoga style will depend a great deal on your initial level of fitness, as well as your age and your personal preferences. The good news is, that there is a yoga style that is just right for you, no matter what! Even if you are in poor health, you can practice yoga. In fact, this practice may help you to overcome your illness.

How Challenging is Vinyasa Yoga?

Vinyasa yoga was derived from Hatha yoga, but it differs in pace. The various physical poses (asanas) of both types of yoga are designed to help the body heal and grow strong. The goal of all yoga is to help you gain strength and flexibility while unifying the body, mind and spirit; however, Vinyasa Yoga and Hatha Yoga attain this goal in different ways. While Hatha yoga is slow, gentle and meditative, Vinyasa yoga is fast and challenging. In Hatha yoga, the asanas are focused on individually. In Vinyasa yoga, they are choreographed into a smooth, fluid, challenging series of movements. This is not to say that Hatha yoga is not challenging – it is! However, it is challenging in a different way than Vinyasa yoga. It requires sustained focus on each movement and specific attention to the group of muscles being used in each asana. Additionally, there are transitional pauses between asanas in which you focuses only on breath. Hatha yoga is an excellent beginners yoga. It helps you become intimately familiar with the asanas before moving on to faster paced Vinyasa yoga.

Vinyasa Yoga Increases the Challenge!

Once you have become strong and focused through Hatha yoga, the logical next step is to push the envelope with Vinyasa yoga. This quick, active, challenging style seeks to synchronize breath and motion fluidly. While Hatha yoga is relaxing and traditional, Vinyasa yoga is energizing and creative. As when performing an active sport, you will really work up a sweat when practicing Vinyasa yoga! And that’s the point. You want to generate heat, loosen your muscles more, and increase the depth of your stretches. When you practice Vinyasa yoga, you can design your series of asanas yourself, add to them as you go, improvise, and challenge yourself more and more. The type of strength you gain from Vinyasa yoga is like that which you would gain from aerobic exercise combined with free weight work because Vinyasa yoga is fast, active, uses your body weight as resistance and involves a great deal of deep breathing. All of the health benefits you have gained by beginning your yoga practice with Hatha yoga will be amplified by moving into Vinyasa yoga. Of course, if you are tired or just want to relax some days, you can always move back into Hatha yoga, but for sheer excitement and sense of accomplishment, you are sure to love Vinyasa Yoga.