Characteristics and Description of Ashtanga Yoga during Pregnancy
Yoga ashtanga is one of “rivers” of yoga. It is usually called classic yoga. It also has other names like mystic yoga, yoga for meditation, yoga dhyana or sanhya.
This article will allow you to receive necessary knowledge in terms of Ashtanga yoga as well as it’s practicing during pregnancy.
The Sanskrit word “ashtanga” means “eight-limbed”. This type of yoga consists of eight limbs:
First step of ashtanga yoga is basically yoga hatha – the system where yogi is learning how to manage his body with asanas and his breathing using pranyama. When you reach your concentration max, you reach your samadhi.
After learning asanas yogi start practicing pranayama – the system of breathing exercises, which aim is to calm your brain and feelings down. Using pranayama yogi can manage air flows in the body and keep it healthy.
Ashtanga yoga and pregnancy
If you have started practicing yoga ashtanga recently, it would be better to visit classes with smooth, slow exercises for pregnant, or choose ashtanga teacher who has experience with pregnant women.
While getting ready for labor and your recovery after, by doing yoga you are developing your love and care about your child inside. Practicing ashtanga yoga during pregnancy should be evaluated as you should think about your child and protect placenta.
Your exercises intensity should be lowered comparing with your before – pregnancy practice. It’s a usual thing that during your first trimester you don’t feel any body changes. Your body can say what it wants only after the 4th month or later.
Being pregnant means responsibility, so here are some things to remember:
- before starting doing yoga ashtanga by yourself, try it with an instructor first;
- all positions should be made slowly, without sudden and quick movements; avoid jumping;
- if you are bending forward, do not press your stomach;
- if you had miscarriage, do not do asanas with standing;
- do shavasana lying on the side of your body;
- listen to your body.
Overall, Ashtanga yoga is safety enough for pregnant ladies but keep in mind that it is better to practice it with well-qualified coach.
In this section we will descrive several exercises from Ashtanga yoga for pregnancy which are suitable for the beginners.
Pranayama can be practiced during any period of pregnancy. First, find comfortable position for yourself. Then take a deep breath filling your lungs with the air and exhale slowly.
Keep breathing for 2-5 minutes. Pranayama helps to calm your mind down, enhances mood, and improves blood circulation and concentration.
Janu Sirsasana with chair
Place a chair in front of you and put a bolster (a long narrow pillow) across the seating place. Sit on yoga mat with your legs stretched forward. Put folded blanket under your pelvis.
Bend your left leg, place your heel closer to pelvis and try to point your knee to the floor. Stretch forward your right leg the way it to be placed under the chair.
Bend forward, put your head on the bolster and take the chair back with your hands. Keep sitting for one minute, with a deep inhale get up and change your legs.
Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana with chair
Place a chair in front of you; put a bolster across the seating place. Sit on yoga mat and stretch your legs forward. Put folded blanket under the right buttock.
Bend your left leg and place it with your knee pointed forward (your heel should be to the left of your pelvis). Try to keep your knees together.
Lift up your body and with exhale put your head on the bolster. Keep sitting for one minute, with a deep inhale get up and change your legs.
Marichyasana I with bolster and belt
Sit on a folded blanket and stretch your legs forward. Bend your left leg and put the heel closer to pelvis, your knee should be pointed to the ceiling. Put the bolster across your right leg, lean forward and take your foot.
To make your bending deeper you can use a belt and move a little bit forward. But don’t press your stomach.
Put your head on a bolster. Keep sitting for one minute, with a deep inhale get up and change your legs.
Ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana
Sit on a folded blanket and stretch your legs forward. Put the bolster on your right leg. Bend your left leg and place the foot on the right hip.
Lift up your body and exhaling lean forward and take your foot. Put your elbow on the bolster. Keep sitting for 30 seconds and inhaling get out of this position.
To make your bending deeper you can use a belt. Change your legs and repeat, then stretch both legs forward.
Baddha konasana with chair
Put a chair in front of you. Sit on a bolster, bend your knees, place feet closer to pelvis and with your hands under feet connect them. Move your hips the way your knees to be closer to the floor.
Put your hands on the chair and lift your body up. Don’t flex your stomach. Stay in this position for 30-60 seconds.
Leave your feet and stretch your legs forward. It is important to keep your back straight.
Upavistha konasana I
Sit on folded blanket and spread your feet as much as you can. Point your toes on yourself and put bolster on the right leg. Inhaling lift your body up, turn it to the right and exhaling try to lie on your right leg.
Put your elbow on bolster. Grab your foot with hands or use the belt. Stay in this position for 1 minute, inhaling get out and change sides.
Upavistha konasana II
Sit on a folded blanket and spread your feet as much as you can. Put bolster between legs perpendicularly. Inhaling lift your body up and move it forward.
Put your elbow on bolster and grab your elbows. Keep staying in this position for 1 minute, change your elbows grab and stay for 1 more minute.
Adho mukha svastikasana with bolster
Sit on two folded blanket and cross your legs. Place bolster in front of you. Keep your body and head straight, breathe smoothly.
Exhaling bend forward, place your elbow on bolster. Keep this position for 1 minute and inhaling get up.
Supta baddha konasana with bolster
Sit, bend your knees and place feet closer to pelvis. Put bolster 10-15 centimeters behind your back. Spread your hips and knees keeping feet together.
Lie on bolster and place your hands along the body. Keep this position for 30 seconds. Slowly put your knees together, stretch forward your legs and get up using right side of the body.
This video demostrates how you can use Ashtanga poses during pregnancy:
Asanas which are not recommended for pregnant ladies
Here are asanas which you should avoid even if you feel your proficiency:
- utthita trikonasana B, utthita parsvakonasana B, marichyasana C and В (as there is too much twisting which may cause placental abruption);
- ardha baddha padma padmottanasana, janu sirsasana C, marichyasana И and D, garbha pindasana (as they are connected with pushing your heel into uterus);
- bhujapidasana, kurmasana, supta kurmasana (you should avoid positions which should be done on your stomach);
During your first trimester it is not obvious whether you can do yoga ashtanga or not. This decision should be made individually. Basically it is recommended to start ashtanga during your second or third trimester.
The point is that at the beginning it is not known whether you have high risk pregnancy or not. If you have decided to start practicing, you should be very careful when doing asanas.
If you fell that sickness doesn’t disturb you a lot, you can try to practice not on an empty stomach. Drink water during training, avoid sudden and quick movements and make sure it is not too hot in the room.
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