Basics of Hatha Yoga: Interesting Facts and Postures
Hatha yoga is an ancient Indian spiritual practice. One of the main aims of this type of yoga is leading your body to full health.
The word “hatha” has a deep meaning: “ha” means sun (male principle), “tha” means moon (female principle). These two words together represent “union”. So, hatha yoga is an ancient system which helps to bring together opposite principles.
What is hatha yoga?
Basic hatha training includes:
- asanas (poses) which help to keep your body healthy;
- pranayamas (breathing exercises) which teach you to control breathing and emotions;
- focusing which helps to calm your mind down and direct attention at spiritual order;
- meditation (relaxation).
The basic principle of hatha yoga is doing asanas and static poses together with breathing and focusing. In hatha yoga it is very important to develop plasticity and keep muscles healthy.
Each exercise influences different part of body that’s why it becomes significant to keep the order of doing asanas. In hatha yoga breathing practice and focusing your energy should be considered as well.
While doing asanas, you should remember that you mustn’t force yourself too much, you shouldn’t feel pains or trembling. You should feel comfortable and enjoyable.
One of the unique features of hatha yoga for pregnancy is the complexity of the exercises which stimulates hormones and gives a massage of your internal organs. Hormone system stimulation helps to keep your emotions in balance, which in turn contributes to being positive.
That is the way to cure both physical and mental diseases. As an addition to physical exercises hatha yoga includes healthy nutrition principles.
It should be noted that hatha yoga can be done by anyone. There are no age limitations and almost no contraindications. Hatha yoga helps to become healthy using internal resources. Hatha yoga strengthens and calms nervous system down, reduces stress and tension. In addition, it teaches how to relax and be healthy.
Hatha yoga during pregnancy
Now let’s discuss the connection between hatha yoga and pregnancy, is it possible to do these activities for pregnant ladies? If you have practiced hatha yoga before, it will be quite easy to continue doing it with some modifications.
If this is your first time, it would be better to start with your doctor’s consultancy. If your doctor is fine with your practice, it would be better to choose classes with professional guru.
Basically, doctors are quite negative about yoga during the first trimester. The point is that during this period embryo becomes fetus. That’s why it is usually recommended to take rest, listen to music and meditate.
Asanas do not have sudden and quick movements; they improve blood circulation in pelvis area and strengthen spine and muscles which participate in labor process. That is really important during pregnancy period and after.
Hatha normalizes bowel movement what excludes uncleared bowels and bloat during the last trimester. If you are interested about yoga workout routine during last trimester, then read “Yoga exercises for pregnancy in the third trimester”.
Yoga helps to learn breathing techniques and relaxation which are important for labor process. Breathing technique in yoga is similar to breathing during labor – that’s why learning it before giving birth to a child becomes significant. Moreover, right breathing influences mother and her child’s health.
There are several fundamental postures which can be used during pregnancy time.
Stand straight, separate your feet the way you can feel comfortable and stable. Stretch forward your arms and hunker down the way your pelvis to be parallel to the floor. This pose strengthens legs, stretches ankles and stimulates abdominal cavity organ function.
Sit on a flat surface, bend your knees, place feet closer to pelvis and with your hands under feet connect them. Move your hips the way your knees will be closer to the floor.
Keep your back straight as much as you can. Don’t flex your stomach. This pose stretches pelvis area muscles, makes labor process easier and lowers labor pains.
Sit on a mat and spread your feet as much as you can. Inhaling lift your body up and move it forward. Put your hands on the floor or legs (to feel comfortable). Don’t push yourself: this pose should bring relaxation and inner balance.
Stand straight, open your feet the way you can feel comfortable and stable. Put your hands in prayer position and hunker down the way your pelvis to be close to the floor.
You can put your elbows on your knees. This pose strengthens legs and stimulates abdominal cavity organ function.
Marjariasana (cat pose)
Stand in a four standing position. Inhaling lift your head up and arch your back up. Exhaling lift head down (like you are looking at your knees) and arch your back down. Repeat. This pose stretches spin and normalizes hormone balance.
Balasana (child’s pose)
Stand in a four standing position. Open your knees and place your feet the way your big toes could touch each other. Put your pelvis on your feet (you will feel your spine stretches). Bend your elbows and place forearms on the floor.
Put your head on hands. Relax and breathe deeply, you should feel comfortable. This pose helps to lower tension in back and pelvis and stretches muscles of pelvis area.
Sit on the floor and stretch your legs forward. Keep your back straight. Palms should be turned to the floor along sides. Keep sitting and focus on your straight back. This pose helps to strengthen your spine.
Stand in a four standing position. Move your right knee forward and place it between hands. Straighten your left leg, your heel should be the way like it is looking at the ceiling. By lowering your pelvis down move your left leg back. You may feel that you need to move your right foot to the left side. Do it.
Lift your body up, place your arms on the floor to feel stable. Keep this pose for 30 seconds and change legs.
Lie on your left side the way you feel comfortable. Relax.
Make sure you don’t have any pains during practicing. Each asana takes approximately 30 seconds. After some time you can add seconds or do extra poses.
Asanas which are not recommended
There are some asanas which you should avoid even if you feel your proficiency:
- asanas which are aimed at twisting as they may cause placental abruption;
- those which are connected with pushing your heel into uterus;
- you should avoid positions which should be done lying on your stomach;
More detailed information about prohibited asanas you can receive from the article “Unsafe yoga poses during pregnancy”.
Here are some cases when future mother shouldn’t do hatha yoga:
- Placenta previa. If you decide to ignore this factor, you may cause premature labor. Of course, there are some methods which can help to cope with the problem, but they are forbidden for home doing.
- Doctor recommendation. Your gynecologist knows the way your pregnancy goes. So, if there are some reasons he doesn’t recommend you to do yoga, you shouldn’t do it.
- Low training background level. If you have never practiced yoga before, you have to be very careful while doing asanas, or start practicing only after labor.
- Heart diseases.
- Physical problems, which were caused by chronic diseases, post-procedure recovery or any surgical treatment.
- High temperature, body overheating or low body temperature, periods and muscles overloading are in the list of temporary contraindications.
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