Class Spotlight: Hatha Yoga

Pariticipants in a Hatha Yoga class at UW Health Sports Medicine Fitness CenterHatha (or physical) Yoga is the umbrella term for a broad range of yoga styles. Our Hatha Yoga and Hatha Yoga Flow classes are in the Svaroopa® yoga style, which is a compassionate and effective approach to the body and one of the 19 recognized styles of Hatha Yoga practiced in the United States.


Svaroopa® is a consciousness-oriented Hatha Yoga that promotes healing and inner transformation. Svaroopa®  means "bliss of your own being" and Svaroopa® yoga uses the classical yoga poses to create deep core openings and the inner experience of happiness, bliss and well-being.


Each class emphasizes the sequential release of tensions in the core of your spine, from your tailbone to the top, allowing your whole body to relax and move more freely. Whether you are a novice or an experienced yoga practitioner, physically fit or facing health challenges, Svaroopa® yoga offers you profound improvements. Svaroopa® yoga can be practiced by everyone.


Gentle, slow-moving, and surrounded by squishy blankets and props, Svaroopa® yoga appears deceptively easy. Svaroopa® yoga utilizes a combination of physical postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama) as well as contemplation and meditation techniques (dharna and dhyana) to increase muscle tone and flexibility and promote inner harmony. These techniques provide relief from the stresses of daily life, chronic physical pain, back pain and injuries, as well as preventing injury and promoting greater flexibility.


For many, Hatha Yoga is a powerful practice for relief from stress and/or chronic pain. Hatha Yoga promotes a state of calmness, a sense of well-being and an inner peace that is invaluable to those who practice it.


Hatha Yoga classes are appropriate for individuals of all ages and fitness abilities although, participants must be able to easily move from standing to sitting and lying on the floor. Props such as bolsters, blankets chairs and blocks are regularly used to assist participants in performing individual poses effectively. Hatha Yoga classes are cumulative in nature, meaning new skills require the understanding and competency of earlier skills. For this reason it is highly recommended that new participants start at the beginning of a new class and attend classes regularly.


Hatha Yoga Flow


Hatha Yoga Flow, or Vinyasa Yoga, is a more active, athletic form of Hatha Yoga. Vinyasa is the stringing together of several yoga poses into a flowing sequence. Svaroopa® Vinyasa Flow Yoga will offer you gentle yet exceptionally effective sequences of poses using precise alignment for maximum benefit.


This Yoga Flow class unravels deep physical tensions in your back and is suitable for newcomers as well experienced Yogis. Participants must be able to easily move from standing to sitting and lying on the floor. Vinyasa Yoga is "skill in action" and will help to clear out old life-patterns and habits that may not be serving you well. It will also increase your strength, flexibility and breathing capacity.


The deep core releases in your spine will allow you to overcome chronic aches and pains in your back and in your whole body, as well as to experience more openness, clarity, vitality and happiness in your life. This will be accomplished in a powerful yet gentle and compassionate way. This experience of the yoga poses, together with breathing techniques and yoga philosophy, will offer you deep levels of tranquility, calm, evenness of mind and a sense of contentment and well-being. Each class will offer gentle, effective, slow pose sequences and a long, delicious relaxation pose at the end. 


About the Instructor


Nansi Jo Colley, Ph.D., CSYT*, RYT 500*, is a professor at UW-Madison, and she applies her training as a scientist to the ancient traditions in the science and philosophy of Yoga. She is an innovator, using comprehensive Yoga techniques to lead students into a whole new way of experiencing their bodies, releasing muscular tensions and going far beyond the physical benefits that Yoga provides.


Nansi is trained as a Yoga teacher, Yoga therapist and meditation teacher and has been teaching at UW Sports Medicine Center since 1994. She trained in La Jolla, CA. at the Master Yoga Foundation with Swami Nirmalananda (formerly Rama Berch), the creator of Svaroopa® Yoga. You can read more about her at Nansi regularly attends Yoga retreats and advanced Yoga and meditation trainings to continue deepening her understanding of this ancient tradition and enhancing her Yoga teaching skills.


Nansi communicates with great compassion and clarity and creates a positive and supportive environment in her classes that her participants truly value. She weaves the ancient wisdom of Yoga into modern life, using Hatha Yoga poses and guided relaxation to release tensions and quiet your mind, promoting a peaceful, calm inner state.


*CSYT=Certified Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher), RYT 500 (Registered Yoga Teacher, Yoga Alliance - with at least 4 years and 2,000 hours of training in yoga poses, yoga philosophy and anatomy).


Free Drop-in Class on August 23


Interested in giving Hatha Yoga Flow a try? On Monday, August 23 we will be having a free Hatha Yoga drop-in class from 6:30-7:30 pm. It's a wonderful opportunity for you to give Yoga a try in a fun and friendly environment. Put it on your calendar to drop in and see if Hatha Yoga is right for you. Wear comfortable, loose clothing, leave your worries behind and join us!