Yoga for A Stronger Heart
Prevention is better than cure and the same applies to heart health as well. Some simple lifestyle strategies can make huge differences to your health.
Chronic emotional stress feeds on the arteries, constricts them, and reduces blood flow to the heart. Sticky platelets lead to formation of blood clots that can precipitate into heart attacks.
Yoga is the most effective way to reduce stress.
- Sit in any comfortable position; preferably in padmasana, ardha padmasana or siddhasana with hands resting on the knees.
- Take a deep breath in and breathe out forcefully through the nose.
- Immediately breathe in with the same force and breathe out forcefully.
- Do this for about 10 times, relax for two minutes, and then repeat twice.
Salamba Sarvangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Lie on your stomach on the floor. Stretch your legs back, keeping the feet extended and touching the floor. Place the palms of your hand by the side of your chest, hugging the elbows back into your body.
- Keeping the thighs and feet firm and stretched on the floor, inhale and start straightening the arms to lift your chest up from the floor. Press the tailbone towards the pubis and lift the pubis towards the navel. Narrow the hips. The buttocks should be firm and not tightened.
- Hold the shoulder blades firm against the back, pushing the side ribs forward.Avoid pushing the front ribs forward. The back bend should be distributed evenly over the entire spine.
- Hold this pose for about 15 to 30 seconds. Breathe easy. Release the back to the floor with an exhalation.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
- Lie down on the ground flat on your back. Both your arms should be on the sides with palms facing upward. Keep the legs straight and feet slightly apart.Eyes should be comfortably closed and the face relaxed. Relax the entire body by keeping all the body parts loose.
- Now visualise every part of the body with your eyes closed. Try to relax completely. Start visualising from the toes, then feet, ankles, calf muscles, knee joints, thigh muscles, hip joints and the entire area around the lower abdomen, upper abdomen, chest, lower back, upper back, shoulders, upper arms, fore arms, elbows, wrists, palms, fingers, neck, each and every part of the face and then the head.
- Now focus on your breathing. Inhale and exhale normally, preferably long and deep breaths. When you inhale, the abdomen should come up and in exhale it should go down.Remain in this position for about 20 to 30 minutes. Do not go to sleep. Stay aware throughout this session.
- On completion, slowly move your body parts; tilt the body right and left and then slowly get up and sit down.
Heart Smart Exercise Tips
- Yogic relaxations should be done for at least two minutes every day. It can release stress.
- Regular yoga can diffuse emotions such as anger, hostility and impatience related to heart risks.
- 20-30 minutes of slow to moderate walking is also essential for a healthy heart.
- Do not overdo any exercise.