So what is the major difference between Hatha and Vinyasa?
Many students that are choosing a teacher training are often wondering what the major differences are between these two very popular styles.
The first thing to remember is that yoga is yoga!! whatever label it wears is more about how things are being sequenced but the principal and foundations of the practice are coming from the same place.
Traditionally Hatha yoga falls into the path of Raja yoga, Raja means king in sanskrit, and this was the path of self-mastery.
The self was divided into two categorys: mental and physical. Mental self-mastery was meditation and then the term for physical self-mastery was Hatha.
Hatha can further be broken down to HA -> meaning sun and THA -> meaning moon, opposites. So Hatha yoga was practicing mastering the opposition in the body. So every type of yoga is HATHA yoga. Consider it the umbrella term for all the physical styles of the practice. If yoga were a family tree, Hatha would be at the top of it all.
Hatha was then practiced on the mat mastering postures that could bring balance into the body and mind.
If you are practicing any type of physical yoga it is Hatha.
However when Ashtanga, the eight limbed path came to be under the creation of Sri Pattabi Jois, yoga saw a new addition to the physical practice which was linking specific movements together with breath in a special sequence that created heat in the body. Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) was the first “vinyasa” sequence which literally just translates to linking breath and movement.
Noted for its slight quicker pace and stronger sensation this became to be a very popular method especially in the West. Fast forward to today and we find a studios labeling classes either Hatha or Vinyasa. The real difference comes down into the way things are sequenced. Hatha is noted for having a slower pace, longer holds and not a continuous flow like feeling to the sequence of class.
Vinyasa on the other hand, coming off of Ashtanga, is noted for having a more powerful approach, moving more quickly, keeping a constant pace behind things and often will visit a greater amount of postures in the session.
However they both always come back to the breath, are created for bringing balance in the body and have the same foundational asanas.
Both offer different challenges and its recommended to visit both styles, as they are family! So go think outside the box and take different classes and see what you can learn!