Six yoga poses for a healthy heart

Regular practice of yoga can reduce stress and anxiety, and lower the risk of depression in people who have had cardiac surgery.

Myupchar September 29, 2019 08:00:41 IST
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Six yoga poses for a healthy heart
  • Researchers found that compared to people who didn't exercise at all, those who did yoga had lower BMI, lower systolic BP, lower diastolic BP and lower cholesterol levels

  • Recently, the British Heart Foundation also recommended yoga for people living with heart disease

  • Regular practice of yoga can reduce stress and anxiety, and lower the risk of depression in people who have had cardiac surgery

Can yoga improve your heart health? Medical science is starting to think so.

In 2014, researchers at the Harvard Medical School, the Department of Health Policy at the Harvard University and the Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, the Netherlands conducted a systematic review of data from previous controlled trials and studies.

They found that compared to people who didn't exercise at all, those who did yoga had lower body mass index (−0.77 kg/m2), lower systolic blood pressure (−5.21 mmHg on average), lower diastolic blood pressure (−4.98 mmHg) and lower cholesterol levels (−18.48 mg/dl).

Recently, the British Heart Foundation also recommended yoga for people living with heart disease. The reason: regular practice of yoga can reduce stress and anxiety, and lower the risk of depression in people who have had cardiac surgery.

Six yoga poses for a healthy heart

Extended triangle pose. Image source: Getty Images

The following six asanas are said to expand the chest, improve breathing and lift the overall mood. If you have hypertension or a heart condition, please consult your doctor before attempting them. You can also consult a yoga therapist on which asanas to avoid for your specific health condition.

Utthita Trikonasana or Extended triangle pose

  • Stand on the mat with your feet wide apart. Now, turn your right foot out and your left foot slightly inward.
  • Place your hands on your waist and bend from the hip - try to bring the right hip closer to your right leg without turning your torso or jutting your hip back.
  • When you can, lower your right arm towards the floor and raise your left arm towards the ceiling.
  • Look straight ahead. If you can, turn your head to look up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds. Try to open up your chest throughout the pose.
  • Return to the starting position. Rest for a few seconds before repeating on the other side.

Paschimottanasana or Seated forward bend pose

  • Sit on the mat with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Raise your arms overhead. Stretch the fingers up towards the ceiling.
  • Now, bend from the waist to bring your head closer to your knees.
  • Try to hold your feet in-between your hands. If this is not possible, hold your big toes, ankles or shins.
  • Completely relax the upper body, and breathe into this pose to deepen the stretch on your legs.
  • Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds; then push your arms out and up.
  • Lower the arms back on to the mat.
  • Rest for a few seconds and repeat.

Ardha matsyendrasana or Half spinal twist pose

  • Sit on the mat with your legs extended.
  • Now bend your knees. Drop the right knee to the mat and bring the right foot close to your left hip.
  • Try to bring your left ankle close to the right knee.
  • Making sure that your hips are on the mat, raise your left arm overhead. Now, take it back and place your hand on the mat behind your hip.
  • Raise the right arm overhead. Now, lower it on to the left outer thigh as you twist to face left.
  • If you can, turn your neck to look behind you.
  • Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Gomukhasana or Cow face pose

  • Sit on the mat with your legs extended.
  • Fold your right leg under the left leg, and place the right foot as close to the left buttock as possible.
  • If you can, fold the left leg and place the left foot close to the right hip.
  • Now, take your left arm behind your back and bend your elbow. Try to reach your hand up towards the shoulders.
  • Take your right arm overhead. Bend the elbow and try to interlock the fingers of both hands.
  • Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds.
  • Rest for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.

Setu Bandhasana or Bridge pose

  • Lie down on your back, bend your knees and place your feet firmly on the mat.
  • Bring your heels as close to the hips as possible.
  • Place your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Now, try to touch your heels with the tips of your fingers.
  • As you raise your hips and back off the mat, try to bring your breast bone closer to your face. Keep your head and shoulders firmly on the mat.
  • If you want to support your back, bend your arms and place your hands on your back - just above the hips.
  • Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds.
  • Gently return to the starting position. Rest for a few seconds.
  • Repeat once or twice.

Salamba Sarvangasana or Shoulder stand pose

  • Lie down on the mat with your arms beside you, palms facing down.
  • Bend your knees and gently lift your hip and back off the mat. Use your hands to support your lower back.
  • Bring your elbows closer on the mat. Now, walk your hands up your back to bring your knees in line with your chest.
  • Straighten your legs and flex your feet.
  • Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds and breathe comfortably throughout.
  • To return to the starting position, lower your hands back on to the mat and come down gently - vertebra by vertebra.

End your practice with complete relaxation in the savasana or sleeping pose.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on the Benefits of Yoga.

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