What is the difference between Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa, or Flow Yoga?
Both Hatha and Vinyasa yoga work to increase flexibility and strength, improve breathing and quiet the mind. Each form of yoga aims to create fitness of the body and mind, though the way to these goals differs. The science of Hatha, originated in 15th-century India and earned a reputation for purifying the body in preparation for meditation. Vinyasa yoga, also called Ashtanga yoga, or Flow yoga, is a fast-paced series of postures, or asanas, that focuses on the flow between movements, more than individual poses.
Hatha Yoga is a traditional style of classic yoga poses. Because Hatha yoga’s pace is slower and gentle, it is an ideal starting place for people who are new to yoga. One of the more challenging aspects of a yoga practice is combining movements with breathing control, or pranayama; a slow pace assists newcomers in moving correctly with the breath according to Hatha principles. Students of Hatha yoga hold each pose through several breaths; Vinyasa students take one inhale or exhale for each pose.
Vinyasa yoga requires a working knowledge of yoga and is more advanced than Hatha yoga, in that it demands more physically through the poses. This form of yoga is a series of postures that work the cardiovascular system with its flowing movements and quick pace. All of the poses are linked and combined with a rhythm of inhalations and exhalations aimed to build heat in the body.
The Purpose of Hatha Yoga
According to Indian tradition, one of the primary objectives of Hatha yoga includes deepening concentration, called Dharana, to enhance meditation and bring energy and health to the body and mind by opening the nadis, or channels of Kundalini energy. The opening of nadis through Hatha helps promote spiritual growth and understanding, according to Indian tradition.
The Purpose of Vinyasa Yoga
The purpose of Vinyasa yoga is internal cleansing. By synchronizing the asanas with breathing control, your internal temperature rises. According to Asthanga the asanas performed in Vinyasa yoga heat the blood, subsequently thinning it so it flows more freely in the body, which creates a healthier, lighter and stronger mind and body.