Rather than being a style of yoga as such, Hatha describes any kind of yoga where poses (asanas) are practiced, this would include Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Iyengar yoga to name a few popular styles.
The word Hatha is the Sanskrit word for ‘Forceful’, and represents a system of physical techniques. Broken down, the Sanskrit word Ha translates to ‘sun’ and Tha to ‘moon’, equating to Hatha being the yoga practice of balance.
Hatha yoga has developed in the western world into a style of yoga that is widely practiced. Classes described as Hatha Yoga would be more basic and gentle with a focus on alignment, and physical and mental benefits of each pose, making Hatha the perfect choice for a novice yogi.
In addition to asana practice, Hatha yoga utilises breath in the form of pranayama exercises (controlled breathing techniques) and meditation which is at the heart of traditional Hatha yoga.
Like with all the yoga disciplines the benefits of Hatha yoga are vast. The purpose of the practice is to create complete health of your mind and body and to allow breath and energy to flow through you freely.
Hatha yoga uses physical poses to generate strength and flexibility and to drive energy into all areas of the body, removing any built up tension.
The benefits include:
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga as exercise, incorporating principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, with asanas (postures) that are held for longer periods of time. For beginners, asanas may be held from 3-5 minutes. The sequences of postures are meant to stimulate the channels of the subtle body known as meridians in Chinese medicine and as nadis in Hatha yoga.
Yin Yoga poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body—the tendons, fasciae, and ligaments—with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. A more meditative approach to yoga, its goals are awareness of inner silence, and bringing to light a universal, interconnecting quality.
Yin Yoga began in the late 1970s as martial arts expert and yoga teacher Paulie Zink's Taoist Yoga. Yin Yoga is taught across North America and Europe, encouraged by the Yin Yoga teachers and developers Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Yin Yoga as taught by Grilley and Powers is not intended as a complete practice in itself, but as a complement to more active forms of yoga and exercise. However, Zink's approach includes the full range of Taoist yoga, both yin and conventional.