Thanks to slow and gentle movements, yoga exercises are particularly beneficial for the heart. The systematic breathing technique and meditation instill a range of benefits. Read through to know how doing yoga for heart will actually benefit you and must be a part of your daily routine.
How Does Yoga Benefit the Heart?
Although yoga has been around for thousands of years, it’s only recently that it finds a place on the best exercises for heart list and it’s not without reason. The many benefits of yoga for heart are:
1. Alleviates Stress
Deep breathing, a touted way to reduce stress, is an important part of yoga. Different yoga poses let you concentrate on your breathing, thus, helping reduce stress. Reduced stress levels are an elixir for heart health.
2. Improves Metabolism
Yoga exercises play a crucial role in controlling blood sugar levels. It helps burn calories and improves metabolism.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Yoga exercises for heart aid in artery relaxation. This helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol build-ups – factors that contribute to heart health.
4. Improves Sleep Quality
Good and adequate sleep is important for good heart health as the body heals itself during sleep hours. Yoga exercises are calming for the body and mind, thereby contributing to better sleep.
Yoga Exercises for Heart
Yoga comprises a range of poses, also called asanas. A few are typically beneficial for the heart and respiratory system. Read through to know about the yoga exercises for heart:
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
How it works – The tadasana is a wonderful exercise to strengthen the heart, vertebral column, and spinal cord. The deep breathing involved while doing the exercise helps build up lung capacity.
How to do Tadasana – Stand upright with feet slightly apart and hands by the sides. As you inhale, slowly take your arms over your head. Keep your elbows straight and interlock your fingers. Gently raise your body and come up on your toes. Push your hands upwards and feel the stretch in the entire body. Hold the position for 20-25 seconds.
2. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
How it works – The Vrikshasana boosts concentration, balance, and neuromuscular coordination. It broadens the shoulders as well as expands and opens up the heart.
How to do Vrikshasana – Stand straight. Firmly balance your body weight on your left leg and lift your right leg. Fold your leg and place your foot on the left thigh. Now, gently join your palms at chest levels and raise them slowly over your head. As you breathe deeply, hold the position for some time. Repeat the position for 20-25 seconds. Slowly bring your arms down to the chest level and then separate your palms. Repeat the exercise after changing sides.
3. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
How it works – Trikonasana is one of the best yoga exercises for heart. It is crucial for expansion of chest [heart opening expansion] and promotes cardiovascular health.
How to do Trikonasana – Stand straight with your feet shoulder distance apart. As you inhale, raise your right hand above your head, keeping it parallel to the right ear. Now exhale and bend your upper body at the waist to your left. With your left hand hold your left foot. Make sure your left and right arms come along in a straight line. Hold the position for 20-25 seconds. Gently come back to the standing position. Repeat the posture on the other side.
4. Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
How it works – Vajrasana is a perfect yoga for heart. Calming and relaxing, Vajrasana helps reduce stress and blood pressure levels.
How to do Vajrasana – Sit down on your legs. Let your pelvis rest comfortably on your feet. Gently place your hands (palms downwards) on your thighs. Gently breathe as you keep your spine straight. Let your head pull your body upwards and tailbone downwards. Sit in the position for 3-4 minutes and gradually progress the duration to 5-7 minutes.
5. Malasana (Garland Pose)
How it works – Malasana, the yoga exercise for heart, is a perfect pose to stretch the lower body and boost blood circulation. The rhythmic breathing and muscle movement boosts stamina and is good for heart health. Also, Malasana helps reduce weight and is therefore good for the heart.
How to do Malasana – Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Gently squat down and join your palms in front of your chest. Place your elbows inside your knees and gently apply pressure to push your thighs out. Hold the pose for one minute and gradually progress to 5 minutes.
6. Adomukhi Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
How it Works – Adomukhi Svanasana is a weight-bearing exercise that helps strengthen the bones and muscles. As you come in the inverted V position with your heart above the head, it helps improve blood circulation and reduces stress and anxiety.
How to do Adomukhi Svanasana – To do the Adomukhi Svanasana pose in yoga exercises for heart, get down on your knees placing your hands in front. As you exhale, lift your back and hips, straightening your legs and knees. Push your body upwards till you form an inverted V. Balance your weight on your feet and palms. Hold the position for 1-2 minutes.
7. Santolanasana (Balancing Pose)
How it Works – Santolanasana helps relieve stress and fatigue. It opens up the lungs and heart and is therapeutic for asthma.
How to do Santolanasana – Kneel on your knees and place your hands in front. Slowly, raise your hips and straighten your legs. Move your shoulders forward until the body forms a perfect vertical line. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Lower your knees to return to the original position. Do 5 repetitions.
8. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose)
How it works – A reclined backward bend, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is a perfect chest opening yoga pose. It’s a great stress-buster and is therapeutic for high blood pressure.
How to do Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Let your feet be hip-width apart with hands placed by your sides. Now gently press your feet into the floor, and lift your hips off the floor. Let your body rest on your shoulders, feet and hands. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
9. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
How it works – The Utkatasana opens up the chest and shoulders. It also helps tone up the digestive organs and heart. This asana increases the heart rate, thus stimulating the circulatory system and metabolic activities. This yoga pose is especially good for the diaphragm and heart.
How to do Utkatasana – Stand comfortably with your feet slightly apart and toes facing forward. As you inhale, raise your arms overhead and bend your knees as if going to sit on a chair. Go down until the thighs come parallel to the floor. Keeping your elbows straight, stretch your arms outwards, letting them come in a straight line with your spine. Hold on to the position for about one minute.
10. Shirshasana (Headstand)
How it works –When doing Shirshasana, the nutrient-rich blood and oxygen flow automatically to the brain. This improves blood circulation, expands the lungs and strengthens the heart.
How to do Shirshasana – To do Shirshasana, sit in Vajrasana pose. Slowly, bend forward and place your elbows on the floor in front with fingers interlocked. Rest your head comfortably inside your hands. Now, gently lift your hips and straighten your legs, pushing them upwards. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds. You can do a headstand in front of a wall for added support and safety.
11. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Unlike the Shirshasana which is intense and powerful, the Savasana is a counter pose for all yoga postures. Typically done at the end of the yoga class, it marks more than a gentle cooling-off phase. It helps reduce anxiety and stress levels. It lowers blood pressure and leaves a calming effect on the heart.
How to do Savasana – Lie down comfortably with your legs hip-width apart. Place your hands by your sides without touching your body. Release all pressure to hold the limbs in position. Close your eyes and breathe naturally. Stay in the position for about 10 minutes.
Yoga poses help build joyful coordination between the body and the mind. It nurtures the body, increases strength and flexibility, and ensures a calming effect that relieves stress and anxiety. No wonder yoga for heart and health is widely touted. Remember to practice yoga for heart regularly. Consistency and regularity will ensure that your heart stays healthy and protected. Also, it is important to learn and practice the asanas under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to prevent muscular injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Yoga Asanas
Q1. Which yoga asanas are the best for the heart?
You can practise yoga asanas like Tadasana, Trikonasana, Malasana, Vajrasana, Vrikshasana, Santolanasana, etc. to maintain heart health.
Q2. Does yoga help cure heart blockage?
Regular practice of yoga can help reduce cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, and maintain healthy blood glucose levels in the body. These are the conditions that generally lead to heart blockage and therefore controlling these can help prevent the same.
Q3. Which pranayam is considered to be the best for the heart?
You can perform Bhastrika pranayam in order to keep your heart healthy. It can help alleviate conditions like hypertension, heart disease, asthma, blood pressure, and so on.