Difference Between Hatha Yoga & Vinyasa Yoga

By Patricia | December 8, 2008
Vinyasa Yoga For A Supple Body

Let’s understand what hatha and vinyasa yoga are all about before exploring the differences.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga has been prevalent since the 15th century in India and is also known as Hatha Vidya or the science of Hatha. It is believed that through Hatha yoga, one can purify the body and make it fit for meditation. Hatha comes from two words – Ha stands for sun and Tha is the moon. So it’s two forces – the active and masculine force of the sun and the feminine and receptive energy of the moon – that join together to purify the body.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa, which is also known as Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, has its roots in the Yoga Korunta, an ancient manuscript compiled by a sage. Vinyasa means a dynamic concentrating posture. This type of yoga flows between the traditional static yoga asanas. Vinyasa is about linking the movement of the postures to the breath. Vinyasa yoga gives a lot of importance to the journey between the postures; while Hatha yoga is about the postures only. Vinyasa yoga has a series of six postures, each flowing into the other. Ujjayi breathing is part of Vinyasa yoga.

Difference Between Hatha And Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa is derived from Hatha yoga, though the postures and practice is different. Both Hatha and Vinyasa yoga make the body more supple and strong; improve breath work; calm the mind; and, prevent diseases. Both these forms of yoga are work towards the same goal – fitness of the body and the mind, though the way they achieve this is different.

  • Vinyasa is fast paced, while Hatha yoga is slower.
  • Vinyasa yoga is about a series of movements, each linked to another. This is similar to the Sun Salutation or the Surya Namaskar. Postures with a series of movements have greater effect on the cardiovascular system, unlike the effects of hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is about individual postures, rather than flowing movements.
  • Hatha yoga is good for beginners, who are new to yoga and are learning yoga postures. Since the pace of hatha yoga is gentle and slow, it is easier for beginners to learn the postures, the breathing techniques and the principles of yoga. Vinyasa yoga, on the other hand, should be attempted by people who already know yoga.

Vinyasa is a more advanced form of yoga. Every asana is linked together and requires a rhythm of inhaling and exhaling of breath. This yoga with its flowing movement and fast pace, builds heat in the body and stretches the muscles of the body more than the postures of Hatha yoga.

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