Konstantin Simidchiyski on the importance of connecting the body, the mind, and the breath
As autumn is approaching and the world is slowing down to enjoy this beautiful season after a fun summer, we got to talk about well-being and self-care with Konstantin Simidchiyski from the GoHathaYoga.com blog.
His and his team's devotion to introducing Hatha yoga to the world is impressive, and thanks to their content, more and more people turn up to Hatha yoga on-site or online classes everywhere.
We asked him all of the hot questions about Hatha yoga, and let's just say that our mats are ready for our first class.
Why did you create the GoHathaYoga blog?
We created GoHathaYoga because it feels like there are tons of blogs and websites for yoga in general. However, Hatha yoga is widely underlooked even though it's a very popular yoga class for beginners.
The blog is made for people who can't go a day without yoga and need to read quality content about it and educate themselves.
This sounds so fun, and your readers are lucky to have such a good source of info. So, in a few words, what is yoga?
The word yoga comes from Sanskrit, and it means union. Yoga postures are called asanas, which aim to provide physical stamina and strength, preparing people for long meditation sessions.
As complete yoga beginners, we can't help but ask what do Om and Namaste mean?
Om is a vibration or mantra usually chanted at the end or beginning of your yoga class. It's referred to as the sound of the universe. Om takes us through our breath, physical energy, and awareness. We begin feeling soothed and uplifted.
On the other hand, Namaste is a salutation in Nepal and India, and it's said with your hands pressed together at the heart with your head bowed. Some translations of Namaste state that it means "I bow to the divine in you," "I honor the sacredness and equality in us all," or "I honor the place in you which is of love, truth, light, and peace."
What do you need to do to start doing Hatha yoga?
The only tools you need to start doing Hatha yoga are your mind, body, and lots of curiosity. You can get some comfortable clothes like a T-shirt and yoga leggings. You can be barefoot, with socks or trainers. Get a towel with you and get a mat as you progress, but most studios have mats, so get one if you fancy it.
Do you have to be vegetarian to do Hatha yoga?
This comes from the yoga philosophy of not harming others or yourself; some consider it vegan or vegetarian. Even though the yoga community is torn on this topic, we believe it's a personal choice, and you must research all the pros and cons before changing your eating habits. However, don't enforce it on others if you choose to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
How many times should you practice a week, and how is Hatha yoga different from other types of fitness?
You can practice Hatha yoga for one hour each week or two to three times a week for an hour. Some days, you might go for 20 minutes per session, which is also okay. The main thing is to do it at your own pace and never set unrealistic goals. After some timepracticing, you will soon be naturally drawn to doing it more and more.
And for the second half of your question, Hatha yoga contains both the physical and mental parts of ourselves, unlike fitness, which focuses on the physical one.
By doing Hatha yoga, you connect the body, mind, and breath and draw your attention towards the inner workings of yourself - where your trauma and most intimate thoughts lay.
This process teaches us to be present and recognize our patterns without judging them.
We can't help but ask you a controversial question: whether Hatha yoga is a religion or not.
Hatha yoga is not a religion but an Indian philosophy created 5,000 years ago. It sometimes intertwines with Buddhism and Hinduism, but such paths are not required to practice yoga. Also, you can not let religious beliefs prevent you from practicing yoga. Take it as an exercise as you would Pilates or Tabata.
So what do you suggest if our readers think they're not flexible? Is this a requirement for doing Hatha yoga?
Being flexible as a gymnast is not a requirement as you do yoga to become flexible. It's like asking if you need to paint like Picasso to start online painting classes. Come to a Hatha yoga class, and you will soon start to notice your body getting better and better. Coordination, strength, and better cardiovascular health will join your new agility.
What do you think about not eating 2 or 3 hours before Hatha yoga class? Is it necessary or advisable?
When doing Hatha yoga, you have asanas with twisting and bending, which is not ideal for a full belly. Otherwise, you might feel cramps or even feel sick during class. However, if you have a fast digestive system and feel hungry often, you can get a snack like nuts or yogurt 30 minutes before class.