Bear with us if you see too many disturbing stats in the following paragraph. We know it goes against the grain of great writing but this is about your heart.
When it comes to heart diseases, the statistics are enough to get your heart rate racing. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are the biggest risk factors for a heart disease. Here is the scariest part, one in 2 Americans have at least one of the three factors working against their heart condition. 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S is heart-related, most commonly coronary heart disease or CHD. A jaw-dropping 610,000 people in the U.S die each year because of a heart condition.
A study published by European Journal of Preventive Cardiology has backed the findings that Yoga could actually reduce the risk factors for heart disease. Yoga not just helps to improve circulation of blood into the heart and keeps your stress levels under control; it also keeps a good check on your blood pressure.
Dr. Gloria Yeh, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the review article is quoted as telling the Harvard Heart Letter, a Harvard health publication, “Yoga is unique because it incorporates physical activity, breathing, and meditation.” “Each of these elements positively affects cardiovascular risk factors, so combining them was bound to show a benefit,” the website is quoted as saying.
One must note that smoking may take away from the powerful benefits of the Asanas or Yoga poses we are going to discuss in the following article.
In this two part series, let us show you some Yogasanas or poses and Pranayamas (breathing exercises) that are pretty darn good for your heart!
First, we begin with some warming up! These are helpful to get the blood flowing.
- Spot walking
-Walk in the same spot you are standing on the mat.
-Lift your legs and bend your knees as you walk, much like a horse’s walk for 2-3 minutes.
-Once we move forward, increase the speed slightly. Lift your knees and walk.
- Bend and Twist
-Expand both the legs out, around 3 feet apart and
-now bend forward.
-When you bend forward, twist the body left side, so your right-hand touches the left toe and then switch the side. Do this for one minute in sync with your breath.
- Standing Body Twist
-Both the feet are on the floor in alignment with your shoulders, the spine is erect, chin is up and then
-start twisting the body right and left.
-Make sure you are twisting the upper body from your lower back, so the entire spine gets a good twist.
-So your shoulders go back and come back to the center and relax.
4. Pranayama– Yogic Breath
Yogic breath is done to expand the lung capacity and make the process of deep breathing smoother and deeper. For Yogic Breath,
-Sit in Sukhasana or easy pose.
-Place your right hand on your stomach and left hand on the chest.
-Sit straight, spine should be erect, chin up and then slowly take a long deep breath in, expand your chest, bloat your stomach,
-and slowly breathing out, relax your stomach, and relax your chest.
-Once again, take a long deep breath in, expand your chest, expand your stomach, and then slowly breathe out, relax your stomach and relax your chest.
-Repeat this cycle 5 times.
Its Time For Some Asanas!
5. First Asana we do is Tadasana or Palm Tree Pose
-We stand with one feet distance between the legs.
-It should be in line with the shoulders.
-Stand straight and then as you breathe in,
-lift your hands up, make Namaste position with both the hands.
-And then slowly stretch the body up for 5-6 long deep breaths. Slowly relax the posture.
6. Vrikshasana or Tree Pose
-For Vrikshasana, fix your eye gaze at one point which is not shaky.
Then, lift your right leg with the support of your hand and then
Place the right feet on the left inner thigh.
-As you breathe in, take both your hands up and make Namaste with both the hands.
-Stay in this posture for 5-6 long breaths. And then slowly relax.
-Repeat the asana with the left leg.
7. Trikonasana or Triangle Pose
-Spread out both the legs about 3 feet apart
-Place the right ankle 90 degrees outside and the left ankle is straight in the front.
-Pelvis and chest are facing front side too.
-As you breathe in, take both the hands up by the sides parallel to the floor in alignment with the shoulders
-and then slowly bend to the right side.
-Try to touch your right ankle with your right hand and
-left hand is 90 degrees from the floor up in the air.
-Twist your neck to the left side and look at your left hand.
-Stay in this posture for 5-10 long deep breaths.
-Slowly come up as you breathe in and relax your hands.
-Now twist the left ankle outside and repeat
8. Utkat Asana or Chair pose
-Lift both the hands up from the front.
-Biceps touching your ears.
-Slowly as you breathe out, bend your knees and go down, push your hips all the way back, So the entire spinal cord is straight.
-Your hands are up, biceps touching the ears. Look in front and stay there for 5-7 long breaths.
-Make sure you are not crossing your toes ahead of your knees. Your knees should be in line with your toes and not cross them.
Its not over yet!
The Yoga routine does not end here. Keep watching this space for the next set of Yogasanas for a strong and healthy heart!)
Yogic breath iTunes