Yoga to Get Your Heart Healthy
According to new research from Yale University School of Medicine. Findings
show that people who practice yoga
at least three times a week may reduce their
pulse and -- most
importantly -- their risk of
Yoga improves heart
health in both healthy individuals and those with diagnosed heart disease,
According to study conducted volunteers taking a six-week yoga-meditation
program improved blood vessel function by 17%. Blood vessel function, also
called endothelial function, is the way vessels contract and expand to aid blood
flow and is a measure of healthy vessel function. However, study participants
who had heart disease had close to a 70% improvement in endothelial function.
Endothelial function is an important indicator of atherosclerosis because as the
disease and plaque build-up progresses, the blood vessels become less supple and
less able to constrict and expand. The yoga and meditation program included 40
minutes of postural yoga, 20 minutes of deep
minutes of yoga breathing,
and 15 minutes of meditation.
Yoga helps to cope with stress and anxiety, which can lead to
diseases (CAD). With a yoga lifestyle and a proper
vegetarian diet, one can make
the progression of CAD slower and the serious patients can recover faster. There
are several poses that you can use in order to increase the health of your
heart, and these poses are designed to help your blood to circulate properly and
strengthen the heart muscle. The warrior pose and the triangle pose are designed
to promote cardiovascular exercise, and prompt you to breathe strategically and
adequately. This helps you to increase your stamina, which gives you more
to complete your daily activities and allow your heart to pump blood through the
body quicker. This will help the body to replenish itself quicker, and can even
help you to sleep better. The tree pose, the mountain pose, and the lotus pose
not only work to strengthen the heart, but can be used to increase flexibility,
which can prevent muscle cramping in the future.
Some of the poses or asanas are:
The word 'Anjali' means to adorn, honor, to celebrate or anoint. This mudra or
gesture is also known as Hrdayanjali Mudra, which means, reverence to the self
or the heart. This mudra is an excellent way to induce a peaceful state of mind.
This mudra is a gesture of reverence to the divinity within.
Sit comfortably in a cross- legged position. Inhale and bring your hands
together. The two hands are pressed against each other and held close to the
heart. The head should be gently bowed as in prayer. Do these mudras for 5
minutes till a feeling of peace takes over.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Promotes experience of stillness,
power, and immovable stability. The position has two primary lines of energy
radiating outward from your center: one line moving upward through the spine and
one line downward through the legs. Your
hips will be in cat tilt.
Hands to Feet (Pada Hastasana)
Trims the waist, restores elasticity of spine, stretches the ligaments, the legs
and the hamstrings.
Aids in the circulation of blood towards the brain. Standing with your feet
together, exhale. Then inhale and raise your arms above your head. Lift your
head up, making yourself as tall as possible, so as to lengthen the spine. As
you exhale, fold forward from the pelvis. Keep your Knees and spine as straight
as you can. Come down as far as possible and either grasp your ankles or clasp
hold of your big toes with thumbs and index fingers. Pull your head in toward
your shins and breathe deeply in the pose. Come out of the position slowly as
you inhale. Stretch your arms above your head, then lower them down by your
Warrior Pose (Virabhadra)
This challenging pose strengthens the entire body while improving mental
capacity and self control. Stand in mountain pose continuing with your smooth
flowing breath. Jump your feet sides ways and sweep your arms out to the side so
your ankles are below your wrists. Establish your foundation, by pulling your
knees and thighs up, tucking your tailbone under, pushing your feet firmly into
the floor. Visualize an imaginary line running vertically down the centre of
your body, dropping your shoulders. Squeeze your arms and legs away from the
centerline. Keep an awareness of this line as you turn your right foot out to 90
degrees and turn your left foot in to 70 degrees. Ensure the heel of your front
foot aligns with arch of your back foot, hips facing forward. If your body wants
to turn off centre, counter-act it by pushing simultaneously in opposite
directions from the centre line. Inhale, an as you exhale bend your right leg,
pulling up with the outside and inside of the thigh to form a right angle at the
knee. Only go as low as you can with out turning your hips off centre. Ideally
you want your knee directly above your ankle with you leg coming vertically out
of the floor like pillar. Keep the power flowing through the back leg into the
floor. Inhale lift the spine; exhale turn your head to look over your right arm.
Take a few deep breaths through the nose. Hold the pose and breathe smooth.
Reverse the procedure back to mountain pose and repeat back to the other side.
Standing Spread Leg Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Tadasana (Mountain Pose), facing one of the long edges of your sticky
mat, then step or lightly hop your feet apart anywhere from 3 to 4 1/2 feet
(depending on your height: taller people should step wider). Rest your hands on
your hips. Make sure your inner feet are parallel to each other. Lift your inner
arches by drawing up on the inner ankles, and press the outer edges of your feet
and ball of the big toe firmly into the floor. Engage the
thigh muscles by
drawing them up. Inhale and lift your
chest, making the front torso slightly
longer than the back.
Exhale and, maintaining the length of the front torso, lean the torso forward
from the hip joints. As your torso approaches parallel to the floor, press your
fingertips onto the floor directly below your shoulders. Extend your elbows
fully. Your legs and arms then should be perpendicular to the floor and parallel
to each other. Move your spine evenly into the back torso so that your back is
slightly concave from the tailbone to the base of the skull. Bring your head up,
keeping the back of the neck long, and direct your gaze upward toward the
Push your top thighs straight back to help lengthen the front torso, and draw
the inner groins away from each other to widen the base of your pelvis. Take a
few breaths. As you maintain the concavity of your back and the forward lift of
your sternum, walk your fingertips between your feet. Take a few more breaths
and then, with an exhalation, bend your elbows and lower your torso and head
into a full forward bend. Make sure as you move down that you keep your front
torso as long as possible. If possible rest the crown of your head on the floor.
Press your inner palms actively into the floor, fingers pointing forward. If you
have the flexibility to move your torso into a full forward bend, walk your
hands back until your forearms are perpendicular to the floor and your upper
arms parallel. Be sure to keep your arms parallel to each other and widen the
shoulder blades across the back. Draw your shoulders away from your ears.
Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. To come out, bring your
hands back on the floor below your shoulders and lift and lengthen your front
torso. Then with an inhalation, rest your hands on your hips, pull your tail
bone down toward the floor, and swing the torso up. Walk or hop your feet back
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Laterally stretches the spine, tones spinal nerves, helps in the proper
functioning of the digestive system. Makes the body feel lighter. Stand with
your feet well apart (about 3-4 feet). Point your left foot to the left, and
your right foot slightly to the left. Stretch your arm out at shoulder level and
bring the right arm straight up, against your right ear. Now inhale. As you
exhale, bend to the left and slightly forward to bypass your ribs. Slide your
left hand down your left leg and hold on to the lowest part you can reach. Look
out at your right hand. Take several full breaths in this position before
releasing it. Repeat, bending to the right.
Standing Side Stretch (Ardha Chandrasana I)
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your feet together. Have your arms by
your sides, gaze straight ahead, and establish a smooth flowing breath as you
wait for the inner cue to begin. When you are ready, exhale. As you inhale,
raise the left arm until it is vertical, alongside your ear, with the palm
facing inward. Stretch outward through your arm and hand as you bring it up,
circumscribing as large a circle as possible with your fingertips. Keep your
left arm alongside your ear throughout the yoga pose. Place your right hand on
your right hip.
Tree Pose (Vriksha-asana)
Regular practice of this posture will help focus the mind and cultivate
concentration (dharana). Stand with the feet together and the arms by your sides
(see the tad-asana.) Bend the right leg at the knee, raise the right thigh and
bring the sole of the right foot as high up the inside of the left thigh as
possible. Balancing on the left foot, raise both arms over the head keeping the
elbows unbent and joining the palms together. Hold the posture while breathing
gently through the nostrils for about 10 complete breaths. Lower the arms and
right leg and return to the tad-asana, standing position with feet together and
arms at the sides. Pause for a few moments and repeat on the opposite leg.
Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
Excellent meditation pose. Helps you relax, be more comfortable and alert .Sit
on the floor in an easy crossed- leg pose. Clasp hold of your left foot with
both hands and bring it high onto the right thigh, up into the groin. Bring the
right leg over the left and place the right foot in the left groin. This is the
full Lotus Yoga Asana. Uncross your legs and try it on the other side. To avoid
becoming confused about which leg goes where, remember that the leg you uncross
first is the first leg to cross on the second side.
Begin on your back with your arms down by your sides, knees bent. Keep your
feet flat on the floor, hip-distance apart and parallel. Press down on the inner
edges of your feet as a way of hugging the inner thighs toward the midline, then
lift your hips. Interlace your fingers underneath your hips and squeeze your
arms as straight as your can.
Single Leg Raise
Prepares the body for asanas. Strengthens the abdominal and lower back muscles,
trims the waist and the thighs. Inhaling, raise the right leg as high as
possible; then exhaling, lowers it. Repeat with the left leg. Perform three
times. Inhaling, raise the right leg then clasp it in both hands and pull it
toward you, keeping your head down. Take a few breaths. Now raise your chin to
your shin and hold for one deep breath; then, exhaling, lower the head down.
Take a few breaths.
Double Leg Raise
Strengthen abdominal and lower back muscles. Used to come up from headstand.
Trim the waist and the thighs. Lie flat on the floor. Inhaling, raise both legs,
keeping your knees straight and your buttocks on the floor. Exhale and lower
your legs. Repeat ten times. Make sure that your lower back remains flat on the
floor while you bring the legs down, to avoid injuring your spine.
Coordinate movement and breath. Benefits the pelvis and spine Stretches and
strengthens the spine and the surrounding muscles. Also
massages the abdominal
organs and is a good pose to combat menstrual irregularities and constipation.
Lie face down with your feet together and your toes pointing behind you. Place
your hands flat on the floor close to your body and beside your rib cage. As you
inhale, gently push off your hands, lifting your head and chest off the ground
and tilting your head back. Feel your chest moving forward as well as upward;
this will help you keep from straining the lower back.
Stretches the upper body, releases pressure in the upper back, stretches and
strengthens the legs, massages the internal organs, helps you breathe easily and
clears the mind. From Downward Facing Dog, drop the knees to the floor. Spread
the knees as wide as the mat, keeping the big toes touching. Bring the belly to
rest between the thighs and the forehead to the floor. There are two possible
arm variations: Either stretch the arms in front of you with the palms toward
the floor or bring the arms back alongside the thighs with the palms facing
upwards. Do whichever feel more comfortable to you.
Leg Reclining Lunge
Stretches and tone all leg muscles. Bend your right leg and clasp the right foot
with both hands again. Move the knee to the side of your chest and make the
shinbone vertical, positioning the right heel directly above the right knee.
Then energize the left leg, sliding the heel away from you, and press the sacrum
flat. Pull downward with your hands, attempting to touch the right knee to the
floor. Keep your sacrum flat and the left leg energized; do not tip sideways in
your attempt to touch the floor. Move your shoulders toward the floor as you
pull with your hands and round your chest.
Invigorates the internal organs, reduces fat, and stimulates nervous system.
From a lying position, with your arms straight out behind you, inhale and come
up to a sitting position. Point your feet at the ceiling and pull your buttocks
out from underneath you, so you'll be sitting directly on your pelvic bone.
Stretch your arms above your head, lengthening the spine. Pulling the abdomen
in, exhale and fold forward from the pelvis, leading with the chest and keeping
your back straight. Bring your chin toward your shins and your chest toward your
thighs. Don't bend from the middle of your spine. Continue right down and hold
on to whichever part of your legs or feet you can comfortably reach without
bending the knees. With practice, you can wrap your index fingers around your
big toes and bring your elbows down to the floor, or stretch your arms out over
Tones and massages the abdominal area esp. the liver, spleen and intestines.
Relieves lower back pain caused by muscle tension. Sit on the floor with both
legs straight. Bend the right leg, lift the right foot over the left leg, and
place your right foot on the floor adjacent to the left knee. Wriggle the
buttocks backward so you are on the tips of the sitting bones, sit tall, and
check that both sitting bones are pressed equally into the floor. Wrap the left
arm around the right knee, positioning the knee in the crook of the left elbow.
Clasp hold of your wrists or elbows. Sit tall. Align your torso and elongate
your core. Pull the abdominals and press downward through both sitting bones,
especially the right one, bring your lower back in and up, and elongate your
core upward through the crown of your head. Lift the chest away from the waist
and pull inward with your arms, squeezing the right leg toward your chest as you
gently thrust your chest toward the leg.
Final Corpse Pose
Helps you become more in touch with your body and improves your ability to
control tension and to relax. Lie on your back, feel spread about 18 inches
apart, and hands about 6 inches from your sides, palms up. Ease yourself into
the pose, making sure the body is symmetrical. Let your thighs, knees and toes
turn outward. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Each time you inhale, feel a
wave of oxygen flowing down to your feet; each time you exhale, feel the tension
flowing out of your body, leaving your mind like a deep, still lake, without a
ripple. Now dive deep into the center of this lake, deep within yourself, and
experience your true nature.
An essential part of Yoga Practice. Relaxes your body and mind, and makes you
feel refreshed after doing the asanas and the
pranayama. At the end of session
of asanas, you should spend at least ten minutes in Final Relaxation. During
this time, you relax each part of the body in turn. But in order to experience
relaxation, you must first experience tension. Working up from the feet, you
first tense and lift each part, then drop (but don't place) it down. Now let
your mind travel throughout the body, commanding each part to relax. Let
yourself go. Sink deep into the quiet pool of the mind. To bring your
consciousness back to your body, gently move your fingers and toes, take a deep
breath and as your exhale, sit up.
You may follow this yoga routine to cope with Coronary Artery Disease and Heart
Ailments in general. However, remember that you cannot treat CAD or any other
heart disease with Yoga. Yoga is not a cure; it only helps you improve your
entire body, including your system, to be able to cope with your affliction.
Dated 01 February 2014