Today, heart ailments are not determined by age or genes. Urban lifestyle choices including untimely and unhealthy food patterns, highly-stressful work environments, improper sleep, and heavy multitasking at work and home without breaks, have taken a toll on heart health in men and women who are as young as 30.
With very little time left to recuperate mentally or physically, our Cortisol levels remain high. Cortisol, the stress hormone that is responsible for helping our body take action in fight-or-flight situations, can also elevate our blood pressure, and make us breathless or nauseated if it stays high. With time, elevated blood pressure results in a cardiovascular event.
One of the most effective ways to naturally reduce your Cortisol levels is yoga. It lowers your breathing and heart rate, decreases blood pressure, lowers cortisol levels, and increases blood flow to the intestines and vital organs.
A study published in NCBI found that practicing yoga can help improve heart rate variability, which is an indicator of heart health.
Yoga for heart
For yoga newbies, here are some asanas that help reduce your stress and are good for your heart health.
1. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
This pose has numerous benefits. When practiced regularly, it improves blood circulation. It also improves the spinal column and enhances both balance and poise. It expands your shoulders and also opens up the heart.
How to do?
Stand straight on the floor. Bring both your arms in front of your chest and join the palms in a prayer position. Now, stretch both your arms upwards. Bend your right knee with the sole of your right foot on the inner side of the left thigh. Keep your left leg straight and hold the position. Take a minute’s break and then do it on the other side with the other foot. Repeat it 5 times.
2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
The cobra pose helps in stretching the chest cavity and invigorating the heart muscles. Moreover, it helps in getting rid of belly fat.
How to do?
Put your head on the ground while lying flat on your stomach. While keeping both your hands on either side of your shoulders, slowly, put pressure on your palms and lift your body up from the torso while stretching your back and belly muscles. Now, straighten out your arms and keep your shoulders pressed against your back. Fix your gaze at a point on the ceiling and hold this stance for about 15-30 seconds and exhale as you return to the starting position.
3. Veerabhadrasana (Warrior pose)
This pose helps improve balance in the body and increase stamina. It also relieves stress and enhances overall blood circulation. By keeping the heart rate in check, it also helps in reducing the risks of arrhythmic conditions.
How to do?
Move your feet about 4 inches apart in the forward direction while standing straight on the ground. Now, turn your left foot out in the forward direction and your right foot in by about 15 degrees. Lift both your arms sideways and level them with your shoulders. While breathing out, bend your left knee and then slowly turn your head to the left. While maintaining your breathing, spread your hands wider. Now maintain the position by softly pushing your pelvis downward. With the right foot in front, repeat with the opposite side.
4. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist)
When the top part of the body is twisted on both sides, the entire spine is affected and the sides of the chest are opened. It normalises the pulse rate, activates the cardiac muscles, and relaxes the spinal column. Daily exercise lowers the risk of heart attacks and heart blocks by preventing the blood from accumulating too much cholesterol. This posture is suitable in yoga for heart blockage.
How to do?
Sit upright with your feet together, your legs spread out, and your back straight. Right foot heel next to left hip by bending right leg. Put your left leg over your right knee at this point. Your left hand should be behind you, and your right hand should be on your left foot. Turn the neck, shoulders, and waist to the left while glancing over the left side shoulder. Maintain posture as you keep breathing. Reverse the process on the right side, returning slowly to the place where you began.
5. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This posture in yoga for heart health allows your body to relax and helps manage your stress levels too.
How to do?
Lie down with your arms on the side, keep your legs stretched out, and close your eyes.
Relax your body and breathe slowly. Continue this for a few minutes.
Yoga helps in calming down the body and offloading all the stress.
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