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Hatha Yoga vs Kundalini Yoga: Can’t decide which practice will be best for you? Here’s a little guide for you with some advice about their differences and which would be best for your needs. For example: Hatha Yoga is good for beginners (it’s often the first style of Yoga that teachers practice before they specialise). It offers a well rounded experience, as it’s a larger, more umbrella term that is freer for teachers to interpret in their own way. Kundalini Yoga rests more firmly in the realm of spirituality and attuning the energy centers (Chakras) of the body, and has very different roots. It’s often more intensive emotionally, as Hatha Yoga teaching in general, tends to focus on more gentle disciplines and the development of the body.

Check out our intros to each and a few examples of why each may be best for you.

About Hatha Yoga

A yoga teacher doing a Hatha yoga sequence in a crescent lunge showing the physical aspect of Hatha Yoga vs Kundalini Yoga

Hatha means force/forceful or will/willful. It is the most widely taught and practiced Yoga style. It’s also the oldest and most popular form of Yoga practiced in the west, and traveled here from India in the 1890s. However, basic Hatha Yoga that we practice now is generally a blend of traditional Asana (postures) and breathing excercises. These have over time combined with western influences from dance and exercise methods to form the ‘flow’ routines we see today.

Hatha Yoga is an umbrella term for all western interpretations of Ancient Yoga.it is also taught as a style in it’s own right. This style as taught (in general) focuses mainly on Asana (physical aspects of Yoga) and breathing exercises (pranayama). This does not mean your teacher will not incorporate more spiritual ideas however, so if you’re looking for something purely physical, check with them. Remember that a Hatha Yoga class can vary a lot from teacher to teacher, but this also means they will often be more flexible and adaptable.

Hatha Yoga May Be Best For You If…

  • You are relatively new to Yoga or…
  • You’re looking for a well rounded, body and breath based experience
  • Gentle Yoga with a focus on general well being is your goal
  • You’d like to experience many different aspects of Yoga before finding your ‘niche’
  • Flexibility and adaptability of practice is key

About Kundalini Yoga

3ho kundalini yoga festival. A large group of kundalini yogis dressed in white gather in a field

Kundalini has only been popularized since the 1980s and was developed by Yogi Bhajan. The non-profit organisation 3HO, which holds the Kundalini festival we visit with Yogamasti, now continues his work. Kundalini Yoga is a relatively new discipline and you’ll have seen our blogs about Kundalini festivals & clothing options. And that is something that stands out about Kundalini Yoga – all the white clothing! (Kundalini Yoga encourages you to wear white clothing to keep the aura pure and the mind clear.)

A woman in white practicing kundalini yoga meditation shows what meditation wraps are for by draping one across her head that is painted with brightly coloured chakras.

(Pic shows our hand painted Chakra meditation wrap)

What makes Kundalini Yoga different? It’s attitude to Yoga practice. Kundalini Yoga is about channeling the vital energy of the spirit through the Chakras, imagining it as a coiled snake at the base of the spine, below the root Chakra (Check out our guide to the Chakras here). You unravel this energy through a relatively equal balance of meditation, breathing exercises and Asana. Kundalini Yoga mantras like the Adi Mantra are also recited.

Kundalini Yoga May Be Best For You If…

  • You’re interested in exploring the Chakras
  • You are looking for a way to awaken latent energy and gain a new perspective on your body
  • Your spiritual nature needs a physical way to express itself
  • You are interested in exploring mantras and mudras and how they could enhance your practice

More Things To Consider About Choosing Hatha Yoga vs Kundalini Yoga

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you choose:

Is exploring my body or my spirit more important to me – or are these needs balanced?

Am I interested in exploring Chakras and what they could mean to me? Or are Chakras too ‘New Age’ for what I want from practice?

What are my goals for Yoga? Better health? Better spiritual awareness? Physical fitness or flexibility?

Would wearing white, chanting etc. stray a little too close to religion for my tastes?

All of these questions will help you choose what style of Yoga is right for you. If you have any questions about what a style of Yoga entails – just call your prospective teacher! They will always be happy to discuss their teaching with you. They’ll also help you make an informed decision, so just go for it! Find your Yoga niche! Once you have it, everything will fall into place. You also won’t suffer from a lack of motivation if you make the right choices off the bat. So do your research and go for it!

 

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