What Are the Heart Benefits of Yoga?
Yoga is known for its ability to lower your stress levels. It helps you stretch and tone your muscles, encouraging you to build strength through repetitive motion and resistance.
What you may not realize is that Yoga provides a double benefit for people who need to work on their cardiovascular health. When you’re able to increase your heart rate through the physical activities Yoga encourages, then you can manage or help to prevent heart disease.
The calming benefits which Yoga provides are also good for the heart.
How Does Yoga Boost the Heart?
Yoga is a heart-booster because it takes the weight of the world off of your shoulders. With regular practice, it may help to control your blood cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, and even control blood glucose levels. In just three months of practicing Yoga, middle-aged adults with metabolic syndrome saw improvements in their condition.
Fast-paced Yoga is not the only option which provides benefits. If you’re struggling with your heart health, a slow-paced class just twice per week has been shown to reduce the frequency of a-fib episodes in patients. Those who have experienced heart failure showed exercise capacity improvement with an 8-week yoga program.
All participants in Yoga programs with heart-health concerns had lower levels of inflammation markers too, which is a contributor to heart disease.
What Yoga Poses Best Help the Heart?
Now here’s the best part about Yoga: you can practice it at home to receive these heart-health benefits.
There are four good poses to consider doing if you’re thinking about adding Yoga to your daily routine to help your heart.
1. Big Toe Pose
This pose is similar to the hamstring stretch you might have done in school. Bend from your waist, keeping your legs straight, and attempt to grab your big toe. If you can’t reach it, then stretch as far as you can. Draw your stomach in and let your sitting bones stretch toward the sky. Hold for 10 breath cycles if you can.
Big toe pose: https://youtu.be/M3Nz4enOL6Y
2. Forward Bend
This pose is also similar to a hamstring stretch. From a seated position, let one leg sit straight out. Bend the other so that it tucks in close to your body. Then reach out to grab your foot. Hold the stretch for up to 10 breathing cycles.
Forward bend pose: https://youtu.be/Qco1KkuMJCk
3. Reclining Foot Pose
Lie down on your back, with your arms along your sides. Then lift one leg upward as high as it will go. Then actively reach with the hand on the same side as the leg that is in the air to reach your foot. You may feel your neck lifting with this stretch, and that’s okay. Hold it for five breath cycles, then repeat with the other leg.
Reclining foot pose: https://youtu.be/SP5AVRRtpuI
4. Bridge Pose
When lying on your back, bring your feet closer to your sitting bones. Then push upward with your legs, pushing your hips toward the sky. Keep your neck and shoulders flat on the ground. Hold for 5 breath cycles, then release. Repeat at least twice more.
Bridge pose: https://youtu.be/hBO4R-0lM74
Yoga is an excellent exercise choice if you need to work on your heart. Get started today, and then let us know your favorite poses!