What does Hatha Yoga mean?

Physical yoga: Hatha yoga and Mindful yoga

In the beginning, there was one kind of yoga that the ancient spiritual schools called Maha yoga.

Maha yoga broke apart into small factions which created different schools with varied aims and teachings.

Hatha yoga is the primary school of yoga, and one that forms the basis of all other schools. It is the physical school. A solid grounding in Hatha yoga is essential before the exploration of Raja yoga, the meditation school, where the focal point is the mind and moving through the eight limbs of yoga. Thirdly comes Bhakti yoga, the school of devotion and learning to love and accept all that we encounter.

What is Hatha yoga?

Hatha yoga is the physical school of yoga and it is currently the method which is most practiced in the western world. This is due to the influence of gurus and teachers such as Krishnamacharya, B.K.S. Iyengar and T.K.V. Desikachar who brought Hatha into the western collective consciousness at the beginning of the 20th Century.

It is important to understand that the fundamental purpose of Hatha yoga is to prepare for the comfortable and correct pursuit of meditation as a pathway to spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is not an ‘added benefit’ of yoga, it’s its inherent purpose and goal.

Whilst the foundation of Hatha yoga is movement, it is a mistake to see it as being purely of the body. Hatha is a holistic practice which marries the body, the breath, and the mind in pursuit of mental clarity. Of course, for many of us Hatha yoga is simply a way to keep fit and healthy, and it certainly is well adept at doing so. Hatha yoga helps us to understand and develop our bodies through the use of tools such as asana (postures) and pranayama (breath control).

Hatha yoga gives us the ability to soothe our aches and pains, to still our minds during troubled times and invites us to be strong and resilient. Through yoga we can know ourselves better, understand the world around us and be in tune with the universe.

Laurent Roure’s Mindful yoga

Over the years, Laurent realised that the classic facets of Hatha yoga were leaving his students with an unmet need for a more intuitive and somatic practice. Therefore, he developed his own approach to Hatha, which he calls Mindful yoga.

He teaches Mindful yoga using the tenets of self-observance, self-awareness and self-acceptance. Through thoughtful practice, each student learns how to hone and master each of these essential skills.

Laurent’s guidance invites his students to work on bringing the mind and body together in harmony by utilising the classical tools of yoga alongside contemporary and more explorative practices, such as Feldenkrais, Somatic yoga and Vanda Scaravelli inspired yoga. These are the perfect ingredients to enhance, refresh and challenge the classical teaching of yoga.

This means that every class with Laurent is different; the mind follows what the body can do at the moment of your practice. Postures are moved into with considered kindness and bodily boundaries are not pushed for the sake of it. The powerful practices of pranayama, meditation, and yoga nidra are given a special focus in Laurent’s teaching, as he feels that only through mastery of these mindful endeavours can one’s yoga practice truly flourish.

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