4 Yoga Poses to Practice Daily for a Healthy Heart
Heart disease is a growing concern, not only for the elderly population but also for the younger generations. Preventative measures like leading a healthy lifestyle and quitting bad habits like smoking can go a long way in keeping heart disease at bay.
It is believed that some yoga asanas can help in lowering blood pressure, increasing the capacity of the lungs and improving blood circulation, thus promoting heart health. While every yoga pose has an overall beneficial effect on the body, different sets of asanas can have benefits for different body systems. Following are some such asanas that may prove to be beneficial for the heart when practised regularly.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease, please consult your doctor first and attempt these asanas under the supervision of a professional yoga instructor.
1. Tadasana: The mountain pose
For this pose, you have to stand with your feet together or about 10 cm apart.
Raise both of your arms over your head, palms facing each other. Interlock your fingers and turn the palms upwards.
Now while inhaling and stretching your arms, shoulders and chest upwards, raise the heel of your feet off the floor. You should be balancing your whole body on your toes.
Hold this position for 10 seconds without losing balance.
Then breath out and lower heels first followed by your hands.
You can perform this asana 10 times.
2. Gomukhasana: Cow's face pose
Sit on a floor and keep both your legs bent at the knees in front of your body.
Slide the left leg underneath the right leg in a way that the left heel touches the outer side of the right hip.
Place the right heel on the outer side of the left hip.
Adjust your legs in a way that your right knee is placed on top of your left knee.
Once your legs are in position, fold your right arm by bending the elbow and move it behind your back from below and place the back of your right hand over your spine.
Raise your left arm up straight, bend it from the elbow and place the palm of the left hand on the back of your left shoulder.
Now try to clasp the fingers of both hands behind your back.
While clasping the fingers, keep your head and spine straight.
Hold this position for two minutes (or as long as you can to begin with) and then relax for a minute before repeating the asana with the opposite limbs.
3. Sarvangasana: Shoulder stand pose
Lie on your back while keeping your head, spine and feet aligned in a straight line. Hands should be placed next to your body, with the palms facing down.
Tighten your core and raise your legs up in the air in a vertical direction with the help of your arms.
When the legs are straight up in the air, roll your buttocks and spine off the floor while simultaneously bending your elbows and turning the palms of your hands upwards and placing them on your back, just behind the rib cage, to support your back.
With your palms, push your back forwards to a point that your chest presses against your chin. Your legs should be perpendicular to the floor.
Try to hold this position for as long as you feel comfortable. Then return to the starting position by slowly lowering your back, hips and then legs to the floor.
Relax for a minute and then repeat the asana 5 times.
4. Setu-asana: Bridge pose
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched forward, back straight and palms on the floor on either side of the body.
Move your palms 30 cm behind your buttocks. Keep your elbows straight, recline your trunk slightly.
Now raise your hips up and ensure that your body is in one line from shoulder to ankle.
Once in position, loosen your neck and let it hang back and down.
Try to place your feet flat on the ground while keeping the legs and arms straight. Do not bend your knees.
Hold this position for as long as you can and then lower your hips slowly to the floor and relax for a few minutes.
You can repeat this asana 5 times.