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Asanas for a healthy heart

  • Published at 06:10 pm August 3rd, 2018
Yoga Pose

Find out which yoga poses help relieve stress, reduce hypertension and improve cholesterol for better cardiovascular health

Coronary heart disease is a disorder of blood vessels and arteries which supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart. When these arteries of the heart become blocked, the supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart is reduced which eventually leads to a heart attack. 

Causes

Heart disease occurs when plaque develops in the arteries and blood vessels that lead to the heart. This blocks important nutrients and oxygen from reaching your heart. Plaque is a waxy substance made up of cholesterol, fatty molecules and minerals. Plaque is accumulated over time when the inner lining of an artery is damaged by high blood pressure, smoking, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. The risk of heart disease increases around the age of 55 in women and 45 in men. Other risk factors for heart disease are obesity, diabetes, family history of heart disease, being physically inactive, unhealthy diet, clinical depression, stress, anxiety and tension. 

Yoga poses

If you are suffering from heart problems or want to prevent heart attack, you must practice some effective poses of yoga and breathing exercises (Pranayama). According to research, a healthy diet, meditation, practicing yoga poses and Pranayama play an important role in curing, preventing and reversing heart disease without using medicines or spending money. 

Bhastrika Pranayama

It’s a deep breathing exercise that boosts the immune system and keeps diseases away. This breathing exercise helps increase supply of oxygen and purifies the blood, relieve stress, anxiety and tension and is thus, highly effective in preventing heart disease. 

Sit in a crossed leg position on Padmasana or Sokhasana. Keep your back straight, place your palms on your knees, facing the sky or ceiling. Now inhale deeply and exhale deeply through both the nostrils with a hissing sound. Practice this breathing exercise for three to five minutes. 

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The downward facing dog

It's an excellent pose which allows the heart rate to settle and become soft and rhythmic again, increase stamina and decrease high blood pressure. 

From table position, tuck the toes under, press into the hands and begin lifting the hips up towards the ceiling. Using straight arms, press the hips up and back reaching the chest towards the thighs. Lift up through the tailbone to keep the spine straight and long. Breathe normally and hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. 

The triangle

This is a standing yoga pose, designed to promote cardiovascular exercise. When breathing deeply and rhythmically during this exercise, the chest expands. 

From a standing position with the legs three feet apart, turn the right toe to the right and the left toe slightly inwards. Inhale and press the left hip out to the left as you slide both arms to the right, parallel to the floor. Exhale and rotate only the arms, raising the left arm up and resting the right hand against the right leg, with the palms facing forward.  Hold on to the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. To release, inhale and reach for the raised hand up, lifting the whole body back. Repeat on the other side in the same way. 

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) is a standing yoga pose that builds strength and stability. This pose can help increase stamina, improve blood circulation, provide relief in anxiety and stress. 

Begin in Mountain pose (Tadasana), standing with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides. Spread your right leg forward and left leg backward, keeping the feet 3 three metres apart from each other. Shift your weight on the right leg by bending the right knee at an angle of 90 degrees and place both hands on your right knee. Inhale, raise your arms above and beyond your head. Let your gaze follow your arms. Hold on to the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Now, repeat on the other side as well. 

The sphinx 

The sphinx pose is a beginning backbend in yoga that helps to open the chest, lungs, and lower back.

Lie on your stomach, keeping your palms beside your head. Inhale, pressing strongly into your forearms to extend your spine, making room for your chest to move forward. Roll your shoulders onto your back. Keep your breathing normal and hold on to the position for 30 seconds to one minute.

Tips    

  • Eat healthy fats, not trans fats.     

  • Get enough sleep.     

  • Keep physical activities enough.        

  • Stop smoking.         

  • Laugh out loud.     


The writer is a registered Yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance USA. Check out his website at www.saldinyoga.com