how to practise the asanas of hatha yoga

How To Practise The Asanas Of Hatha Yoga?

Hatha yoga is sometimes referred to as the “yoga of postures.” Only traditional hatha yoga texts discuss physical poses in such depth and context. Asanas served no use other than meditation before the hatha yoga era.

The original concept behind hatha yoga was to cleanse the physical self before engaging in the more abstract mental practice of meditation. This concept lays the groundwork for the physical asanas (postures) practised in modern hatha yoga.

Hatha Yoga Asanas

Contrary to Patanjali’s eight limbs, asana practice is the first limb in hatha yoga. Hatha yogis believe that one must first be physically prepared to practise Yama and Niyama (self-discipline and self-control).

Asanas in Hatha yoga are physical postures that stimulate the body’s energy systems and psychic chakras. Hatha yoga asanas have physical stretching, psychological impacts, and other benefits. The only way to maintain a healthy body is to remove all impediments to the free passage of prana.

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Swastikasana (Auspicious Pose)

The first Asana (posture) of hatha yoga to be covered in HYP is swastikasana. To meditate, sit with your legs crossed and your feet tucked under your thighs, as in the ‘Swastika’ posture. 

‘Swastika’ is a Hindu blessing for new beginnings, fertility, and creativity. Because of this Asana’s calming and spiritual qualities, it produces the same effect on the body.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Gomukhasana is the second hatha yoga asana, and while it’s not a meditation pose, it’s great for sitting for extended periods. This Asana gets its name from the resemblance between the seated practitioner’s legs and the head and shoulders of a cow (Go means cow, Mukha means face). Cow face stance is a result of this.

Veerasana (Hero Pose)

Another meditative sitting position is Veerasana. “Mahaveerasana” is another name for the yoga posture Veerasana. This Asana was given its name because it bestows the heroic qualities of Mahaveer (Lord Hanuman) and the ability to defeat enemies. Veerasana is described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in two distinct forms: the traditional “Vajrasana type” and another with “Ardha padmasana-like feet.” However, Vajrasana, the most popular form, is superior for healing and meditation.

Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)

Tortoise posture, or Kurmasana, is a common yoga asana. Both a general and a Hatha Yoga Pradipika-specific explanation for this Asana exist. According to the Hatha Yoga explanation, this Asana stimulates the Kurma Nadi, which is why it is called Kurmasana. The stance is called tortoise pose because the standard explanation calls for a position comparable to that of a tortoise (Kurma in Sanskrit).

Kurmasana improves the health of our respiratory and digestive systems. When we regularly practise this Asana, our back, neck, and shoulders become more at ease. It raises cerebral perfusion pressure, which in turn enhances memory.

Kukkutasana (Cockerel Pose)

Kukkutasana is one of the many balancing asanas (yoga postures) practised in the seated position in hatha yoga. This technique aims to raise the kundalini energy to the higher chakras.

The Kukkutasana is a fusion of the Lotus Pose (Padmasana) and the Crane Pose (Bakasana). The rooster or cockerel position gets its name because the lifted body looks like a cock. 

Kukkutasana is a yoga pose that helps build strength in the chest, arms, and shoulders. Hip and joint mobility are improved with this Asana. It stimulates Kundalini, allowing us to take up spiritual practises.

Uttana Kurmasana (Stretching Tortoise Pose)

Uttana Kurmasana, the first non-seated hatha yoga asana, has been shown to have a soothing impact on both the body and the psyche. The Padmasana is entered into as a starting position for this laying variation of Kukkutasana. Because it controls the adrenal glands, Uttana Kurmasana is a great asana for persons with neurological disorders and short tempers.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Dhanurasana (Crow Pose) is a great example of how Pranayama (breath retention) may be incorporated into a hatha yoga asana. By holding your breath in the last position of this pose, you can improve your breathing and lung capacity.

The bow position, or Dhanurasana, is a common backbend in hatha yoga. Our bodies take the form of a bow when we adopt this position. Although most descriptions of this pose have you holding your ankles, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika version brings your toes to your ears like a bowsman shooting at your foe.  The back muscles are fortified by doing Dhanurasana. Improves flexibility in the chest and shoulders while toning the neck and core.

Matsyendrasana (Spinal Twist Pose)

This posture is named after Matsyendranath, a pioneer in developing the Hatha yoga tradition. Since Matsyendranath is said to have taken the form of a fish in certain myths, the ‘lord of fishes’ stance is another name for this striking image. This pose has multiple names because of the half-spinal twist it induces. The ‘Matsyendrasana’ described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a kind of Ardha Matsyendrasana.

Matsyendrasana is good for spinal cord flexibility since it targets the spine. Muscle soreness is reduced, and back pain is eliminated. If you suffer from a slipped disc, you should practise matsyendrasana. In addition to increasing oxygen supply and relieving stress, it reduces tension. 

Paschimottanasana (Back Stretching Pose)

The hatha yoga poses paschimottanasana stretches the entire body, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet. It is performed while seated, with the practitioner leaning forward from the hips so the forehead rests on the knees. 

Paschimottanasana, a seated forwards bend in hatha yoga, has a straightforward entry process.

The back and shoulders get a good stretch during paschimottanasana. The kidneys, liver, ovaries, and uterus all benefit from this. This Asana helps with digestion, calms nerves and eliminates headaches.

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Another balancing pose in hatha yoga, mayurasana, calls for a solid abdominal muscle foundation and a firm grasp of the floor with the forearms. This Asana requires you to lie facedown while balancing your entire body on your palms.

According to Hatha Yoga, Pitta, balancing Vata, and Kapha by frequently practising Mayurasana is possible. Additionally, it stimulates stomach secretions, leading to enhanced digestion.

Mayurasana lessens the severity of diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. It improves abdominal circulation and helps strengthen digestive organs. Stress is reduced, and mental clarity is enhanced as a result. It’s also good for your digestive tract’s health, including your intestines, stomach, and liver.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

Hatha yoga’s Shavasana is a profoundly therapeutic corpse pose that rejuvenates the entire body and mind. “Shav” is the Sanskrit word for “corpse,” Savasana is also called the corpse position. Because it is a vital posture, it is typically done after a more strenuous asana session or in-between other postures.

Shavasana, the final resting pose of hatha yoga, requires no conscious effort on the practitioner’s part. As such, it is an effective method for doing Pratyahara, which aims to heighten one’s awareness of one’s body and mind.

Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose)

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Siddhasana is the optimal meditation posture. Women can do a similar pose called Siddha yoni asana, while it is emphasised that Siddhasana is only for men.

The Ajna Chakra is activated through Siddhasana, which gives the practitioner tremendous strength. This is why the ‘Accomplished stance’ or ‘position of perfection’ is another name for it.

Siddhasana is said to enhance body posture. The reproductive system benefits from increased hip, knee, and ankle mobility. Regular practice of this Asana keeps the spine in a natural, erect position. Concentration can be boosted by practising this Asana. 

Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Padmasana, like Siddhasana, is a common contemplative posture among yogis. Siddhasana, in contrast to Padmasana, is better for new yogis since it reduces the likelihood that their feet would fall asleep.

Padmasana, or lotus stance, is derived from the resemblance between the raised feet and the lotus flower. The practitioner sits with their legs stretched out in front of them, maintaining a neutral spine. Place the heel of the right foot near the body while keeping the knee bent and resting on the left thigh. Another leg needs to go through the same motions. 

Different mudras, such as the Chin Mudra, Adi Mudra, Chinmayi Mudra, and Brahma Mudra, can be used with Padmasana. These mudras are said to boost circulation and vitality. Padmasana helps us maintain healthy blood pressure, calm our thoughts, and ease stress and anxiety. When practised regularly, this Asana can also aid digestion.

Simhasana (Lion Pose)

Simha (lion) and Asana (position) are the etymological roots of the name “Lion’s pose,” which is commonly used to refer to this particular Asana. The body and face are positioned as if the lion were roaring. Hatha Yoga Pradipika specifies that Simhasana must be done on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. 

Make a ‘ah’ sound as you breathe through your mouth. After you’ve finished roaring in the upper ankle position, roar a couple more times and then switch to the opposite ankle position.

Bhadrasana (Gracious Pose)

The final Asana in Hatha Pradipika’s series of 15 yoga poses is called Bhadrasana. This is another meditative sitting position, with the heel resting on the perineum. ‘Bhadra’ means ‘gracious’ or ‘blessed’ in its original Sanskrit. Swatmarama reportedly refers to it as gorakshasana as well. It is also known as moola bandhasana.

Bhadrasana is an excellent abdominal and back strengthener. It helps you think more clearly and concentrate more intently. This Asana is effective against weariness, too.

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Hatha Yoga’s Several Advantages

Most Westerners are probably familiar with Hatha yoga, which emphasises physical asanas performed in a set order. Two or three weekly hatha yoga sessions have positively affected my health and well-being. What hatha yoga can do for you, whether your class is calming or stimulating?

Physical Benefits

  • Strengthen your defences. Muscles are massaged as you proceed through each Asana by stretching and contracting them. This aids in lymphatic drainage, which stimulates the lymphatic system to eliminate toxic waste and improves the immune system’s ability to fight illness.
  • Boosts adaptability. Flexibility is boosted as you move through the yoga positions and hatha sequence. This flexibility aids in keeping the body agile and injury-free as we age.
  • Improves muscle tone. There are many standing poses in hatha yoga. Practising these poses for longer and returning to them multiple times strengthens the body.
  • Maintains spinal health and strength. Maintaining spinal mobility and flexibility via regular Hatha yoga may keep your nervous system healthy and disease-resistant.
  • Vitality in the heart. One of the primary causes of heart attack and cardiovascular disease is hypertension, which may be managed and controlled via the daily practice of hatha yoga.
  • Boost your bone mass. Bone loss can be stopped using weight-bearing yoga poses like the Triangle. Anyone struggling with bone density loss or joint pain should pay close attention.

Mental Benefits

  • Help with despair,  stress, and anxiety. During a hatha yoga session, your prana will move freely together with your breath. The physical release of stress and tension can have a calming effect on the psyche. Untreated anxiety frequently results in depressive symptoms.
  • Clarify your thoughts. The mental clutter is cleared away by regular hatha yoga practice, allowing the mind to “think” more clearly, with enhanced recall and focus.
  • Positivity is boosted every day. Your enlightened and carefree spirit will shine through after your hatha yoga session. You can boost your mood by practising asanas by clearing your mind of negativity.

Spiritual Benefits

Regular practice of Hatha yoga’s physical postures improves health and well-being. When your energy flows freely through you, your body and mind are in harmony, conducive to spiritual development. Asanas are a key part of hatha yoga because they help you prepare your body for spiritual enlightenment.

Sit quietly and contemplate the next time you conclude your hatha yoga session. Now is the time to focus inward and soak up the spirituality you’ve cultivated through your Asana and Pranayama practises.


Hatha yoga, which is also called the “yoga of postures,” is a practice that helps you clean up your body before you start meditating, which is more of a mental practice. Asanas are physical positions in Hatha yoga that trigger the body’s energy systems and psychic chakras. This stretches the body, has an effect on the mind, and has other benefits.

The first hatha yoga pose, swastikasana, is a Hindu blessing for new starts, fertility, and creativity. It’s also called “cow face pose,” and it’s a great way to sit for a long time. Veerasana, also called Mahaveer’s Hero Pose, is a meditative sitting position that gives you the heroic traits of Mahaveer and the power to beat your enemies.

The tortoise pose, or Kurmasana, is a popular yoga asana that helps the respiratory and digestive systems work better. It raises the pressure of blood flow to the brain, improves memory, and makes the chest, arms, and shoulders stronger. Kukkutasana is a balanced asana that brings kundalini energy to the higher chakras.

Uttana Kurmasana, the first hatha yoga pose that isn’t done while sitting, has been shown to calm both the body and the mind. Bow pose (Dhanurasana) is a great example of how Pranayama can be added to a hatha yoga asana (pose). Dhanurasana, or the “bow position,” is a popular backbend in Hatha yoga. It makes the chest and shoulders more flexible and strengthens the neck and core.

Matsyendrasana, which is named for Matsyendranath, is a spinal twist pose that focuses on the spine, eases back pain, and lowers muscle soreness. It also helps your body digest food, calms your feelings, and gets rid of headaches.

In short, Hatha yoga is a practice that focuses on cleaning the body before meditation and asanas, which are physical poses.

Hatha yoga is a practice that focuses on doing physical poses (called asanas) in a certain way. It has a lot of positive effects on the body, such as making the immune system stronger, making it easier to change, improving muscle tone, keeping the spine healthy and strong, improving heart health, lowering blood pressure, building bone mass, dealing with depression, stress, and anxiety, getting rid of mental clutter, and making people happier. Mayurasana is a balance pose that needs a strong core and a strong grip on the floor with the hands. It can help balance Pitta, Vata, and Kapha, and it can also make the stomach make more acid, which makes absorption better.

Shavasana, a healing pose called “corpse pose,” is an important part of Pratyahara, which is about becoming more aware of your body and mind. Siddhasana is the best way to meditate. Siddhasana makes Siddhasana work, which gives the practitioner a lot of power. Padmasana, a pose for thinking, is better for new yogis because it makes it less likely that their feet will fall asleep. Simhasana is a lion pose that is done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It is also good for making you feel less tired.

The last of Hatha Pradipika’s 15 yoga poses, Bhadrasana, is a peaceful sitting pose in which the heel rests on the perineum. It is a great way to strengthen your core and back and helps you think more clearly and focus more.

Hatha yoga has many spiritual benefits, such as making the mind clearer, making people happier, and getting the body ready for spiritual awakening. People can improve their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being by doing Hatha yoga.

Content Summary

  • Hatha yoga is often called the “yoga of postures.”
  • Traditional hatha yoga texts uniquely discuss physical poses in depth.
  • Originally, asanas were solely for meditation before the advent of hatha yoga.
  • Hatha yoga aims to purify the physical self before diving into meditation.
  • Unlike Patanjali’s eight limbs, in hatha yoga, asana practice is the primary focus.
  • Hatha yogis believe physical preparedness is crucial before practising Yama and Niyama.
  • Hatha yoga asanas stimulate the body’s energy systems and psychic chakras.
  • The Swastikasana posture is related to the Hindu blessing for new beginnings.
  • Gomukhasana, or the Cow Face Pose, is suitable for prolonged sitting.
  • Veerasana, also known as Mahaveerasana, is another meditation pose in hatha yoga.
  • Kurmasana aids the health of the respiratory and digestive systems.
  • Kukkutasana is a combination of the Lotus Pose and the Crane Pose.
  • Kukkutasana strengthens the chest, arms, and shoulders and stimulates Kundalini energy.
  • Uttana Kurmasana has therapeutic effects on neurological disorders.
  • Dhanurasana, the Bow Pose, incorporates breath retention for lung capacity improvement.
  • The Matsyendrasana pose was named after the Hatha yoga pioneer Matsyendranath.
  • Practising Matsyendrasana helps spinal flexibility and alleviates back pain.
  • Paschimottanasana stretches the entire body and aids in digestion.
  • Mayurasana requires a strong abdominal foundation.
  • Regular practice of Mayurasana can potentially reduce diabetes severity.
  • Shavasana rejuvenates both the body and mind.
  • Siddhasana is regarded as the optimal meditation posture in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
  • Siddhasana activates the Ajna Chakra and is considered a pose of perfection.
  • Padmasana, the Lotus Pose, is ideal for meditation and can help calm the mind.
  • Simhasana, the Lion Pose, mimics a lion’s roar and should be done on an empty stomach.
  • Bhadrasana is the last of the 15 yoga poses in Hatha Pradipika.
  • Hatha yoga is familiar to most Westerners for its set sequences of physical asanas.
  • Regular hatha yoga sessions can improve overall health and well-being.
  • Practising hatha yoga massages muscles, aiding in detoxification.
  • Hatha yoga increases flexibility, reducing the risks of injuries with age.
  • The practice also improves muscle tone, especially through standing poses.
  • Regular sessions maintain spinal health, potentially protecting the nervous system.
  • Hatha yoga can assist in managing hypertension and reducing heart-related issues.
  • Weight-bearing poses in hatha yoga can prevent bone loss.
  • The practice aids in alleviating depression, stress, and anxiety.
  • Hatha yoga clears mental clutter, promoting clarity and focus.
  • Practising asanas can uplift mood by eliminating negativity.
  • Physical postures in Hatha yoga lead to overall well-being.
  • Hatha yoga prepares the body for spiritual growth.
  • Asanas in hatha yoga set the foundation for deeper spiritual practices.
  • Veerasana instils the qualities of the hero figure, Lord Hanuman.
  • Kurmasana, the Tortoise Pose, gets its name due to its resemblance to a tortoise.
  • The Mayurasana, or Peacock Pose, focuses on balancing on the palms.
  • The Shavasana is also known as the corpse pose, provides deep relaxation.
  • Women have a variation of Siddhasana called Siddha yoni asana.
  • The Padmasana posture mimics the appearance of a lotus flower.
  • Different mudras can be used with Padmasana, enhancing circulation and vitality.
  • Bhadrasana, also known as gorakshasana, is a meditative sitting posture.
  • The practice of hatha yoga encourages the free movement of prana with breath.
  • After a hatha yoga session, it’s beneficial to sit quietly and focus inwardly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do The Asanas In Hatha Yoga Start?

In most hatha yoga classes, you will begin with standing poses and then move to the floor. You may recognize these asanas from common sequences such as sun salutations or vinyasa flows.

Why Are Asanas Important In Hatha Yoga?

Asanas are performed to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. 1 Asanas—or yoga poses—help the body’s joints, ligaments, and muscles strengthen through movement. A regular yoga practice can, over time, increase flexibility and mobility, lubricating the spine and alignment to aid in everyday activity.

What Is The Explanation Of Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga (Sanskrit: “Discipline of Force”) is a school of Yoga that stresses mastery of the body to attain a state of spiritual perfection in which the mind is withdrawn from external objects.

How Is Hatha Yoga Unique?

Hatha Yoga places special emphasis on controlled breathing and posture. Building core strength, which is key to good posture, is another important aspect of this type of Yoga. Hatha has hundreds of poses, including well-known ones such as Downward-Facing Dog and Standing Forward Bend.

What Does Hatha Yoga Focus On?

Hatha Yoga places special emphasis on controlled breathing and posture. Building core strength, which is key to good posture, is another important aspect of this type of Yoga. Hatha has hundreds of poses, including well-known ones such as Downward-Facing Dog and Standing Forward Bend.