The Nervous System and Hatha Yoga


I am grateful to all yoga teachers whose videos are posted here, and who have shared their teachings and passion for what they do, so that others can benefit from the goodness and joy of yoga.

Continuing on with the theme of the nervous system from the June blog, this time is about introducing a bunch of Hatha Yoga asanas that ca be added to your “tool box” as another way to support wellbeing.

My engagement with yoga has many times challenged me to look and feel beyond the physical movements themselves, which is what we can see when watching somebody practicing. Do you wonder sometimes what happens inside the body and mind during any deep physical, mental or spiritual practice? This blog addresses just that question with the focus on how the nervous system can be practically supported through hatha yoga; the answer is to be found in your use of the teachings below.

Hatha Yoga is a traditional system of yoga that teaches physical postures designed to bring balance and connection to the mind, body and spirit so that the energy can flow freer in, out and between. The use of breath, awareness of one’s intention and mental attitude are central to this type of yoga.

The Sanskrit word hatha means willful and can also be translated as two separate words: ha meaning Sun and tha meaning Moon. The image of bringing the energies of sun and moon together in body and mind as one, may serve as an inspiration for your practice.

Hatha Yoga postures are suitable not only for general fitness but also have particular benefits on the functioning of body organs, as you can see explained in the videos below. Regular practice with careful attention to your bodily limits can lead to transformative effects.

From the more experienced hatha yoga practitioners to those just beginning to explore it, this yoga system has something to offer to everyone. The following asanas are known to have several benefits, and particularly supporting the nervous system and brain functions.

Note before the practice:

While some of the videos in the links below include information about cautions and contraindications for the asanas, please remember that the information does not substitute any medical advice or treatment and that you make use of these videos at your own risk.

Because of individual differences in physical and mental states, please consult with your doctor and/or your mental/physical health practitioner in the following situations:

  • If you have any doubts regarding the suitability of the practices for you
  • If you suffer from any illness that may be impacted adversely by the practices
  • If you experience any form of discomfort during the practices

As with all physical exercise, warming up the body prior to yoga is necessary and gives you an indication of how the body feels at a certain time and what your mind is experiencing from moment to moment.

Wearing comfortable clothes and enjoying the practice in a comfortably warm room, ideally away from distractions, is recommended.

The links below present instructions for a gentle warm up yoga sequence. Feel free to try these or follow the warm up that works best for you.

A gentle yet comprehensive yoga warm up:

A shorter version of yoga warm up, with fluid movements:

As the body has entered a flow of movement and you now feel ready to experience more, the following sequence of suggested asanas in the videos below can follow.

The yoga teachings from around the world were carefully selected to suit different levels of physical ability and fitness. Like with all physical exercise, use your own judgement call in what you ask your body to do and in meeting with the expectations that the mind presents to you. With time and practiced regularly, the postures will become part of your long-term memory that can be accessed when needed.

Each asana is an invitation to create an art piece as it moulds your body and mind into shapes and states that are probably different from your ordinary day to day experience. Care needs to be taken that the power of attention is directed towards your physical/mental limits and level of comfort. Taking your time to notice the effects and to allow the body to relax between each asana will enhance the experience.

The yoga sequence ends with a final relaxation in the Shavasana Pose, which will conclude the practice and return you safely to your normal routine, hopefully with a fresh drop of peace in your smile.

Kurmasana (Tortoise pose):

Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold):

For beginners:

For advanced practitioners:

Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana (bridge pose):

Bhadrasa (butterfly or throne pose):

Halasana (Plow pose):

Supta Virasana (reclining hero pose):

Sarvangasa (Shoulder stand):

Balasana (child’s pose):

Shavasana (corpe pose):

If after dipping into the asanas sequence above, you feel like sharing some of your experiences, please post them below in the comments space. Sometimes I see yoga as a two-way street. Without all the people who offered their knowledge of yoga, this blog would not have been possible.

It is my hope that each person has the innate ability to heal oneself and such to support and be supported by others while harnessing the possibilities and potential available in the world we live in and staying in connection with each other in this unique melange of “the old” and “the new” that we find ourselves navigating each day.

Happy Yoga journey!