Protect your heart with Yoga

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Sudakshna ThampiBy Sudakshna Thampi ,Co founder – Y2S Yoga Heart disease is quickly becoming one of the most common conditions world-wide. But what makes this problem very complex is the fact that any ailment of the heart is often thought of as serious and can be life-threatening. But apart from medication and surgery, there is one way that you can keep this essential organ healthy — with yoga. A form of practice, that requires a person to focus on their breath and improves the functioning of his/her body, yoga is known for its innumerable health benefits.

Here are 4 ways that yoga helps your heart

  1. Yoga helps manage stress – When you encounter a stressful situation, the brain releases adrenaline into your system to help you either fight or flee the threat. This causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure increases. People who are prone to stress have a higher risk for heart disease than their calmer counterparts
  1. Yoga reduces inflammation – Inflammation is your body’s way of responding to injury and harmful situations, including stress and is at the core of most pathologies, including heart disease. Learning to relax through yoga helps decrease stress-related inflammation.
  1. Yoga lowers blood pressure. High blood pressurecan weaken your heart and damage blood vessel walls, causing plaque to build up and potentially narrow or block arteries. This is a leading cause of heart attack and stroke. Yoga practice is an effective treatment for high blood pressure because of its ability to decrease the body’s response to stress.

Yoga promotes physical activity. Research shows that people who do yoga are also more likely to stick with an exercise routine. People who are physically inactive are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease as those who do exercise. Yoga improves strength and flexibility, which contributes to cardiovascular health.

Here are two postures that will help your heart

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: Bridge Pose Lie on your back. Bend your knees with your feet on the floor hip-width apart. Bring your feet as close to the sitting bones as possible. Inhale; press your feet and arms actively into the floor and lift your hips up. Firm, but do not harden the glutes. Clasp your hands together, walk the shoulders down, and press into the floor with your feet and arms. Open the chest and reach the front of your legs and pelvis toward the sky. Hold for five breath cycles, exhale down, and repeat 2 to 3 more times.

Janu Sirsasana A: Head-to-Knee Forward Bend

From a seated position with legs extended forward, bend the right knee outward to a 90-degree angle and press the right foot into the inner left thigh. Grab the left shin or foot, inhale, square the hips, and lengthen the torso over the straight leg. Exhale, fold forward slowly from the groins. Extend the spine and lengthen through the chest. Keep your back long and flat; you want to avoid rounding of the back. Pull left toes back toward you and extend through the left heel while firmly pressing the right foot into the left thigh. Allow your sit bones to press down toward the floor. Stay here for 5 to 10 breath cycles and switch sides.
Contributed by Sudakshna Thampi , Co founder – Y2S Yoga (+91 8281525209)

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