Hatha yoga is characterized by the physical practice of the variety of asanas (poses) that have become so popular in yoga studios over the last several decades.
While Hatha has become nearly synonymous with exercise, and while it is meant to exercise the body, Hatha yoga is actually a practice that has been created over the course of 5000+ years to open the body and make it strong enough to withstand, and make full use of, the fundamental energy of life (kundalini) that is awoken during meditation.
All forms of yoga are meant to entice the kundalini energy to rise from the base of the body where it sleeps; to wake it up so that the kundalini will move up the full length of the spine and skull to the crown of the head (and beyond).
In Hatha yoga this is accomplished by systematically opening the body with physical poses in balanced forms: left to right, front to back. Balanced physical work is the hallmark of all forms of Hatha yoga (including classical, and all of its more modern variation trademarks like ashtanga, vinyasa, etc.).
But Hatha yoga is not complete without meditation.
Originally, there were only two or three asanas, and they were exclusively seated poses for meditation. Over time, as it became clear that our bodies and minds benefited from full opening before moving into the meditative state, Hatha became a more robust physical practice, in addition to its meditative origins.
Our studio primarily works in Classical Hatha (see our lineage for more detail), meaning longer timings and somewhat fewer vinyasas – or rather, vinyasas that aren’t particularly familiar to other studio classes. We regularly use inversions and abdominal work in class.
We do not subscribe to the idea of “levels” in our studio as everyone has their own work to do and this is not a competition. You are encouraged to work from wherever you are at (absolute beginner to “advanced” practitioner) in every class. As teachers, we work hard to give you the highest quality instruction for whatever you need in your practice.