Have you heard of the heart-healthy benefits of yoga? Yoga is an ancient practice that has been proven to help people reduce stress, increase strength and flexibility, and even lower blood pressure. In this blog post, we will share with you some poses that are especially helpful for your cardiovascular system. These poses can be done on a mat or in any space available to you.
The cobra pose
The cobra pose or Bhujangasana is a great heart-opening pose that stretches the chest and strengthens the upper back, shoulders, lower abdomen, and thighs. Lie on your stomach with your legs close together. Keep your feet touching each other throughout this pose to support both yourself and the floor. Place your hands below your shoulders with palms flat against the floor or mat, fingers spread wide apart. Press down into your hands as you breathe deeply for five breaths and slowly come up onto all fours if possible [or push off of the ground lightly].
The seated spinal twist
The seated spinal twist, also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana, is great. The yoga pose helps to strengthen the spine and stretch the chest and abdomen. Sit in an easy cross-legged position with your right knee bent near your left wrist. Twist your upper body to your left [what used to be straight out] and place both hands on top of your right knee. Inhale deeply as you lengthen through the spine and exhale as you twist further towards the floor.
If possible, hold this Yoga pose for ten full breaths before switching sides. Avoid performing this Yoga pose if have a recent abdominal surgery or disk injury!
The child’s pose
This Yoga pose is known by many names – the “cradle pose”, “resting pose” or “Balasana”. While it is a resting Yoga pose, it’s also a great yoga pose for the heart. Sit on your heels with your feet together and knees spread apart as far as possible. Slowly lower yourself onto your elbows while bringing your forehead to rest against the mat. Relax in this Yoga pose and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths before getting up slowly if needed.
The standing forward bend
This Yoga stretch gently opens the chest muscles and increases circulation in the lungs improving blood flow throughout the body. Stand with your feet together and slowly press your palms against the top of each thigh as you exhale while bending forward from the hips. Attempt to touch the floor or Yoga mat in front of you with your fingertips if possible, but do not force yourself!
Elongate through your spine and keep breathing freely throughout this Yoga pose. Hold for 5-10 breaths before coming back up to a standing position if needed.
The reclined bound angle
This Yoga pose is very similar to the cobra yoga pose we talked about earlier that helps strengthen the upper back, shoulders, lower abdomen, and thighs. While this Yoga pose opens the shoulders and chest, it is especially helpful for relieving stress! Lie flat on your back [on a Yoga mat or soft surface] with your feet together. Keeping your knees bent, slowly allow them to fall to each side. Keep your arms at your sides or place them gently on top of your belly as you breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths.
The plow yoga pose
This Yoga pose stretches the chest and neck while strengthening the back muscles which in turn help support healthy shoulders. Lie flat on your yoga mat or other comfortable surfaces with your feet together. Slowly lower down to the ground and touch your Yoga mat or surface as you try to get both shoulders resting on the Yoga mat as well. Fold your arms across your chest, keeping them relaxed, and rest at either side of your ears. Hold for 5-10 breaths before slowly lifting back up into a seated Yoga position if needed.
The cat/cow yoga pose
This Yoga stretch helps increase flexibility in the spine while strengthening the upper and lower back muscles. Kneel on all fours with your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees slightly ahead of your hips. Slowly inhale as you drop your belly towards the Yoga mat [with a flat back, not rounded] as you look up at the ceiling. Slowly exhale as you arch your spine, rolling through the top of your head until it is dropped towards the Yoga mat. Alternate between these Yoga poses for 5-10 breaths before sitting down to rest if needed.
Yoga has been proven to promote good health and well-being. The poses we’ve listed are some of the most powerful yoga poses for your heart, so try them out! If you have any thoughts or comments on this blog post, please share them in the comment section below.
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