This well-rounded Hatha yoga sequence starts off with classical Hatha Sun Salutations, moves through steady holds in poses that twist the spine in all directions, and finishes off with pranayama to calm the mind.
So, what is the difference between a Hatha yoga sequence and other yoga styles?
While most share the same postures, the overriding trend in modern yoga is variations of Surya Namaskar A and B that are woven together in a flow.
In Hatha yoga, Sun Salutations are simply used as a warm-up. The poses that follow are generally held for longer than they are in other styles: from 30 seconds to several minutes. This Hatha yoga sequence gives the body time to settle into the posture and the mind a chance to go inward.
Bridge pose makes an excellent counter pose to Shoulderstand pose as the mid and lower spine are stretched in the opposite direction. When combined with Fish pose, the three poses balance each other perfectly.
Step by step:
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hip distance wide. Keep your feet near your bottom.
2. With your arms by your sides and palms on the floor, inhale and lift your hips toward the sky. Take it a step further by interlacing your fingers on the floor and using this grip to shimmy your shoulders underneath you.
Twists are extremely beneficial for the entire digestive process. When released after a good long hold, they bring a fresh supply of blood to the internal organs.
Sanskrit: Ardha Matsyendrasana
Step by step:
1. Sit with your legs folded underneath you. Shift your hips to the right, and place your left foot just outside your right knee, knee bent and foot flat on the floor.
2. With your left fingertips on the floor behind you, inhale and reach your right hand to the sky. Exhale, bend the arm, and place your elbow against your right knee. Twist to the left.
3. Hold this pose for up to a minute. Repeat on the opposite side.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
An extremely relaxing exercise, this breathwork alternates respiration between the left and right nostrils. This balances the energy between the left and right brain, bringing tranquility to the mind.
Sanskrit: Anuloma Viloma Pranayama
Step by step:
1. Sit in a comfortable position, spine tall. Bring your right hand into Vishnu mudra: index and middle fingers tucked toward the palm, other fingers extended.
2. Close your right nostril with your thumb and slowly and gently inhale through the left nostril. Close the left nostril with your ring finger, then slowly and gently exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right, close with the thumb, then exhale through the left. This is one round.
3. Practice five to 10 rounds; all breaths smooth and without strain.
4. Altogether, this Hatha yoga sequence takes around 20 minutes to complete. Add in more Sun Salutations or some standing poses such as Tree pose and Eagle pose to elongate this Hatha yoga sequence, and don’t forget to spend some time resting in Savasana to finish it off.
Julie Bernier helps women to bring their bodies back into balance, whether they’re struggling with hormonal imbalances, period problems, digestive troubles, skin conditions, anxiety, depression, preparing for or recovering from giving birth, or any other dis-ease. This holistic approach to individualized wellness is rooted in ayurveda: a holistic system of healing from ancient India. Julie is a registered Ayurvedic Practitioner and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) as well as a Certified Massage Therapist. She studied each of these modalities in the US and straight from the source in India. Connect with Julie at trueayurveda.com or on IG at @juliebernier.