Hatha Yoga technically encompasses all of the physical yoga styles, the asana practice. The word Hatha can translate to “ha” the sun and “tha” the moon, two opposing energies coming together to balance as one and that is what you can expect from a Hatha Yoga class; a balance of two energies merging into one, a practice balanced in strength and softness, leaving you feeling complete.
A Hatha class is a nourishing slower paced practice. The poses are held for multiple deep breaths and the teacher gives detailed alignment cues giving you and your body the opportunity to truly get to know each pose. Now don’t be fooled, this slower paced practice can still be a physically challenging practice therefore making it perfect for the seasoned yogi or the absolute beginner.
On the other hand, we have Vinyasa which can translate to “to place in a special way”. The Vinyasa practice is a thoughtfully planned flowing, dynamic yoga style in which each breath is linked with movement. This is the practice where you may break a little sweet and requires a deeper understanding of the poses to ensure you avoid any injury.
A Vinyasa class is a beautiful athletic yet still meditative practice in which you will flow through poses, one leading into the next all guided by your breath. You can expect to repeat poses a few times and will be introduced to regular moves such as Sun Salutations & Chatarangas that will grow to become the foundation of your Vinyasa practice. As these classes can be more physically challenging I always recommend attending a few Hatha classes or specifically beginner Vinyasa classes first to familiarise yourself with the poses and movements, to gain strength, body awareness and the ability to truly breathe through each pose (this may sound silly but so often we forget to actually breathe!)
So if you are a complete newbie to yoga then head straight to your Hatha classes and stick with those for a few weeks (recommend between 5-10 classes) and then move on to the more dynamic Vinyasa classes. Once you have experienced both, you will most likely find that you will go back and forth between the two, some days you will be craving constant movement and other days’ complete stillness, always listen to your body and do what feels right on the day.
And just a little reminder, each teacher brings their own individual flair to each class, so there will be some classes that you will connect with more than others so try out as many different teachers as you can and watch your practice blossom!
Mirinda Smith is a qualified yoga teacher and the owner of OM Collective, a boutique yoga and wellness studio nestled in the industrial area of Alexandria, Sydney. Upon taking over the business in 2017, Mirinda brought with her a passion for slow flow yoga – an authentic and advanced approach that nurtures and nourishes the body and mind due to its physical and mediative benefits. Embodying the belief that yoga is for everybody, Mirinda and the OM Collective team allow students to experience a balance of strength and softness throughout each class, intertwined with moments of pure stillness and create a comfortable environment where students don’t feel intimated or judged. You can follow Mirinda and OM Collective on Instagram and Facebook at: @om_collective_syd and @OmCollectiveSYD