Hatha Yoga

Form and Precision

I find that the hatha yoga forms are the most basic, the simplest, and so are, in one respect, good for newcomers unfamiliar with learning movement. The hatha yoga postures are archetypal forms with long, arcing lines, which often emphasize single planes of action. These forms provide a clear framework, structure, or outline for a practice: form and precision.

Photo: George Rabito

Though both hatha yoga and qigong cultivate and develop strength, flexibility (both quantity and quality), balance, endurance, flow of energy, and the ability to relax, their means differ somewhat. Some of the more athletic, outgoing hatha yoga forms tend to emphasize muscular strength and the range of motion (quantity) aspect of flexibility. On the other end of the dynamic spectrum, many of the hatha yoga forms can be quite restful and reposeful. The postures are oriented on multiple levels and, therefore, in multiple relationships to gravity, for example, lying: supine, prone, sideways, spiraling, rolling; sitting; kneeling; quadrupedal forms: hands-and-knees, hands-and-feet, knees-and-forearms; standing: two feet, one foot; balancing in numerous configurations: feet, hands, forearms, head; and jumping.