Hatha yoga is the most popular type of oriental practices. Along with Pilates, aerobics and boxing, any fitness center necessarily has this type of yoga. It is very important to have a good yoga teacher who can introduce you to yoga gently and effectively and teach you the pranayama (breathing exercises) and asanas (body positions).

However, you can also practice it at home and not just at the club. In order to do the exercises were only beneficial, you need to observe simple but very important rules that will help to avoid mistakes, which are usually encountered in the early stages of amateurs. Hatha yoga for beginners is also attractive because it does not require any special equipment.

What is hatha yoga

The essence of hatha yoga has not changed over the thousands of years of its existence. Changes underwent only a human attitude to it due to constant changes in the perception of reality and the paradigm of thought. To understand the essence of practice, it is necessary to get into the meaning of words, where “hatha” has two roots. “Ha” means mental energy, mind, and “tha” means vital energy, prana. Based on this, Hatha is an organic symbiosis of vital energy and mental forces. Traditionally, this word is commonly translated as “the means to achieve power through yoga.

Thus, hatha yoga is a set of techniques that can be applied to the human body. The main elements of this eastern practice are:

  • breathing techniques – pranayamas;
  • static positions and body postures – asanas;
  • cleansing techniques – shatkarmas;
  • Reading or uttering certain words or sounds;
  • specific hand gestures – mudras.

Hatha yoga – a little history

Hatha Yoga emerged over 5,000 years ago in northern India as a system of practices to prepare the body for deep seated meditation. The Hatha-Pradipika manual was compiled in the 15th century by the Indian sage Swatmarama. The sacred text, which has survived to this day, describes in detail the form of each correct asana from hatha yoga, how one should practice purifying shatkriyas and pranayamas. The manual outlines the main goal of classical yoga, the awakening of one’s own vital energy.

Also, the ancient Indian scriptures, the Vedas, contain references to three other branches of yoga. However, all of them are unrelated to the physical workout of the body and closely resemble religious concepts. These include the yogas: Bhakti, the path of service, devotion and selfless love; Karma, the yoga of selfless action; and Jnyana, the path of knowledge and wisdom. Therefore, hatha yoga for beginners is the optimal choice for classes.

What you need to start classes

Sports stores offer a wide range of special yoga mats that have a relief pattern and antibacterial coating. Allowed to perform a set of exercises folded blanket or gymnastic mat. A number of asanas can be difficult to perform for pregnant women. Expectant mothers to relieve pressure and help their own bodies, it’s useful to put a roller under the lower back or neck, which can be a plaid, rolled up as a roll. A wide belt is useful for stretching the limbs.

It is customary to practice barefoot. Attention will require only the choice of clothing. It should have a free style, with a minimum of seams and fasteners and be made from natural materials. If a woman decides to master the basics of hatha yoga on their own, it is worth to make sure that there are no contraindications, read video courses and stock up on self-tutorials, as well as familiarize yourself with the recommendations of experienced teachers.

What will increase the effectiveness of classes

Once the clothes and the mat are purchased, beginners should start hatha yoga with a goal. A pregnant woman should determine a realistic goal for herself and move forward every day to achieve it, as well as set a specific time for the classes. It is necessary to determine how many times a week and at what time will hatha yoga classes take place. Also, it is convenient to practice at home primarily because you can take a break at any time. Regularity will help to set yourself up for a long class.

During the hours of practice, no one should disturb the woman, it is best to turn off the phone. Having started practicing, it is necessary to listen to your sensations. Any, even the slightest, pain is a signal for a temporary cessation of practice. The right start of hatha yoga exercises for beginners is slow, with a warm-up, with a gradual transition to complex asanas.

Tips for beginners – how to avoid common mistakes

Ideally, you should start hatha yoga classes before you become pregnant. Because beginners in any business often forget the rules, as a result of which they make mistakes. Improper performance of exercises at home can negatively affect the development of the baby and the health of the pregnant woman.

To avoid this, it is necessary to exclude:

  • The desire to achieve quick results;
  • Incorrect breathing;
  • Violation of the technique of entering and exiting the pose;
  • Excessive and sudden increase in physical activity;
  • Doing exercises after eating or when you are hungry;
  • neglecting to thoroughly warm up the muscles before exercising;
  • Relaxation in between performing asanas and lack of rest.

In addition, you should try to devote at least a quarter of an hour to asanas every day, not to make up for missed classes, increasing the load the next day, follow the advice of video lessons.

Benefits of hatha yoga classes

If a woman before pregnancy was not engaged in Eastern practices, then before starting hatha yoga classes, beginners necessarily need to consult a gynecologist, who conducts pregnancy. Exercise with proper performance of poses and good breathing will bring the future mother and baby undoubtedly benefit, because they help normalize hormonal balance and the central nervous system, improve metabolism, develop flexibility, allowing a woman to take a comfortable pose for her, the child – to assume the correct position before childbirth.

Concentration and proper breathing will help manage your emotions and relaxation. In addition, exercises strengthen the musculoskeletal system, making it more pliable, allowing the body to better tolerate the stresses associated with pregnancy, to return to good shape after childbirth.

Contraindications to classes

Despite the undeniable benefits that hatha yoga brings even for beginners, there are a number of contraindications that make the practice impossible. Every pregnant woman should be aware of them. Among others, these include:

  • The last week of pregnancy;
  • The doctor’s prohibition of exercise, which is due to the general unstable condition of the future woman or the threat of miscarriage;
  • The presence of bleeding of varying intensity;
  • multiple pregnancies;
  • dizziness, tachycardia;
  • diagnosed concomitant somatic diseases;
  • significant weight loss due to severe early toxicosis;
  • miscarriages in previous attempts to conceive or a heavy current pregnancy;
  • high water pressure.

Hatha yoga at home – can you do it?

Many expectant mothers are concerned about whether beginners can do hatha yoga on their own, without attending special training sessions, which are guided by experienced gurus in this matter. To answer it, it is necessary to see and understand all the risks of classes with improper execution of asanas and breathing exercises for pregnant women who have never practiced such training before.

As it has already been said, it is better to begin them before pregnancy, but if you haven’t managed to do it, it is still better to do the first steps under the guidance of a trainer who has skills to teach oriental practices to pregnant women. After mastering the basic postures, the exercises can be performed at home, with a video course for a detailed study of individual body positions. In addition, the trimester in which a pregnant woman has decided to begin hatha yoga classes is an important point.

The first trimester – nuances.

Classes in this Eastern practice in the early stages of pregnancy are not always indicated. In particular, hatha yoga for beginners in the new position, most likely, a woman will be offered to postpone until the second trimester, but there are exercises that can be performed in the first trimester as well. By the second trimester all of the baby’s organs will be formed, and the pregnancy itself will finally consolidate and stabilize. At the same time, if a woman has led an active life before pregnancy and is absolutely healthy, there is no reason to postpone the beginning of yoga classes.

However, it is important to observe a number of rules while doing the exercises, which include the approval of gynecologist; exclusion of all asanas with high load and tension of perineum and abdominal muscles, overloading; prohibition of jumps, abrupt transitions, squeezing, poses with back bend from lying on stomach. It is necessary to remember that in each asana the fixation time should not exceed several seconds.

Second trimester – what to keep in mind

The most favorable time to practice hatha yoga for beginners is the second trimester of pregnancy. Unpleasant symptoms are left behind and the future mother is full of energy and strength. Some inverted postures, which stabilize hormonal environment, asanas from standing position are most useful during this term. The main thing that you should pay attention to now, along with your own well-being – the state of the future baby, and do asanas only with pleasure.

At this stage of pregnancy, less autonomy. You should use the support of a partner, special bolsters, pads. You should also avoid lying on your back, because your blood flow worsens because of the growing uterus, which presses on the vena cava. This may lead to fainting of the mother and hypoxia of the baby. Obviously, lying on the stomach asanas are now also an absolute taboo, as well as deep bends and twists, many inverted poses.

The third term is preparation for the birth.

Mom’s activity in the next term is reduced, she focuses on gentle preparation to the next delivery and rest. The number of asanas decreases significantly, as the fetus is already visibly felt. If it is already difficult to regularly attend group classes, it is worth using a set of exercises for pregnant women in the 3rd trimester, which were specially developed and recorded on video by professional instructors.

It is worth emphasizing that asanas should be performed lying on your side or on a support. Inverted postures are completely excluded. Emphasis in hatha yoga should be shifted to the removal of the load from the spine, which is under tremendous pressure. At this stage it is important to control the work of gastrointestinal tract. Particularly relevant are breathing exercises, mastering new techniques to regulate the body during contractions and to create an analgesic effect.

Where to begin an acquaintance with hatha yoga

After all the precautions have been observed, the pros and cons have been carefully weighed, you can begin to take your first steps. First of all, it is worth visiting hatha yoga classes for beginners, practicing under the guidance of a specialist, see how women perform asanas and breathing exercises, who already have at least a minimal skill in it.

Besides the benefits of physical preparation of the body for the upcoming childbirth, hatha yoga exercises will undoubtedly benefit the stabilization of the nervous system and hormonal background. In other words, you should start from finding and understanding your goals when starting hatha yoga for beginners, as well as getting acquainted with the basic set of exercises that meet the current trimester of pregnancy, the woman’s condition and her level of fitness.

Basic exercises and techniques

For pregnant women, there are adapted sets of exercises that best help a woman endure her position while carrying a baby and prepare for childbirth. Some experts recommend Surya Namaskar (sun salutation), a morning hatha yoga routine for beginners that includes simple and effective exercises. It includes, among other things:

1.Pranamasana – standing on two legs, relaxed pose with straight back, arms in front of chest gathered in namaste.

2 Hasta Uttanasana – back arch with arms straightened up, elbows fully unbent, palms together, head slightly tilted back.

3. Padahasthasana leans forward with straight legs by stretching the muscles of the spine. The neck is relaxed and the head is lowered down.

4. Chaturanga Dandanasana – a plank on bent arms, when the feet are on toes on the edge of the mat, palms resting on the floor under the shoulders, arms bent at the elbows.

General Asanas – Marjariasana

In addition to the morning complex, you can perform other sets of exercises from hatha yoga for beginners. All asanas should be performed for a few minutes, sufficient for each expectant mother to work through the muscles according to her personal feelings. In case of discomfort, you should step out of the pose. Marjariasana (cat pose), Adho Mukha Shvanasana (dog face down), Viparita Karani (bent candle), Shavasana (dead man pose) are extremely effective.

Marjariasana (cat pose) should be performed with your knees bent on the mat. Straight arms should be placed shoulder width apart and rested on the palms of the hands. As you inhale your chest is pulled down towards the floor, and as you exhale it goes back round your back.

How to strengthen the pelvic muscles

An important positive effect of hatha yoga classes during pregnancy and preparation for childbirth is to strengthen the pelvic muscles. The best exercises for this are Marjariasana (cat pose) or Shashankasana (hare pose). Taking the pose of a cat and bending the arms at the elbows, the head is lowered onto the palms of the hands folded together. The pelvic floor muscles should be tensed on inhalation and relaxed on exhalation.

It is allowed to perform the exercise in the hare’s pose – Shashankasana. To do it, a woman puts the front surface of her lower leg on the mat, bending at the knees. The legs should be slightly apart, with the pelvis resting on the heels. The abdomen should be comfortably placed between the knees, and the arms should be stretched forward as much as possible.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana – nuances of performance

When performing this asana, pregnant women who have decided to start mastering this oriental practice should, at first, take a pose near the wall, using it as a support when bending over. Adho Mukha Shvanasana (muzzle-down dog) is performed in the position with palms and feet resting on the mat. The body is elevated above the floor in an angle with the pelvis pointing up.

Pregnant women should choose an appropriate version of the exercise for themselves in order to ease the load. If it is difficult to straighten legs and put them on a mat with the whole foot, you should bend the knees to a comfortable position and put a bolster under the heels. With arms bent at the elbows you can rest on the floor with the palms of your hands and forearms. If there is no opportunity to bend down, it is worthwhile placing a chair in front of you and holding on to it.

Viparita Karani and Shavasana – how to do it correctly

Among the most effective hatha yoga asanas for beginners is Viparita Karani (bent candle pose). Performing this pose for pregnant women involves a variant with support against the wall. It is necessary to move the mat closely to the support, a woman lies down on her side, placing her pelvis as close as possible to the wall. “Walking” up, she stretches her legs along the wall. Hands are placed on the abdomen, breathing is even and calm. It is enough for beginners to stay in the pose for 3-5 minutes. After that time, it is useful to maintain the inverted position for 10-15 minutes and to place a small pillow under the pelvis.

Shavasana (dead man’s pose) is also effective. The pose is performed lying on the back with the palms of the hands spread out to the sides. The feet are brought together; a pillow is placed under the knees for comfort. There is another option – lying on your side with a pillow between your thighs, putting the knee of the upper leg on the mat. It is useful to complete the set of exercises by resting in the pose.

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