Yoga for a healthy heart – Know the best yoga poses for better cardiovascular health  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
New Delhi: Given the stressful nature of life, especially during this pandemic, we cannot deny that we put the heart under a lot of pressure. Both mental and physical health has to be carefully looked after during the ongoing COVID crisis. Many are suffering from emotional and financial stress and it is important that these issues are addressed.
Yoga as therapy
Yoga is a holistic wellness tool that promotes physical, mental and spiritual health. The practice of yoga includes asanas, pranayama, mudra and meditation techniques. Not only do these techniques build a strong body and boost immunity, but yoga can also bring about a state of calmness which leads to overall well-being. Here are some of the ways in which you can protect your heart and strengthen yourself in the process.
Build Dynamism with Chandra Namaskar
As an effective heart-opener Chandra Namaskar, essentially, is a flow practiced as an expression of gratitude to the Moon. The Sanskrit name Chandra translates to mean ‘the moon’ and Namaskara connotes ‘salutation.’ The practice of Chandra Namaskar if done regularly can be great for keeping the heart-healthy.
The flow of Chandra Namaskar impacts the Ida Nadi or the lunar channel of the body. Regular practice of Chandra Namaskara regulates the ida nadi and balances it. As the Ida Nadi is connected to the right side of the brain, all the right brain functions are enhanced. Perform this sequence early in the morning or in the evenings at least thrice a week. This will help you to protect your heart and delay or prevent any cardiovascular-related disorders.
Health through Yoga Asanas
For heart patients, simple asanas such as Dandasana (Staff Pose), Sukhasana (Easy Pose), Tadasana and Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) can be included in the fitness regime. In order to prevent the onset of any heart conditions, individuals are recommended the practice of Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), and Chakrasana popularly called Wheel Pose (also known as Urdhva Dhanurasana -Upward facing Bow Pose). Both of these are deep backbend postures that give flexibility and strength to the spine.
Asanas should not be performed without a proper warm-up. Before practising these asanas, you can begin with Sukshma Vyayam or subtle exercises to prepare your body for this pose.
Healing Mudras for a Healthy Heart
The practice of Hridaya Mudra (Heart Gesture) is beneficial for those who have suffered from any heart-related conditions including a heart attack. The mudra is useful in balancing the Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra) by pressing of the thumb (fire element), the ring finger (earth element), and the middle finger (space element) together at the tips.
The Hriday Mudra is suggested as practice for a healthy heart. Start by holding the mudra 3-5 minutes and slowly increase the practice as your level of comfort increases.
• Sit down in a meditative pose such as Sukhasana or Padmasana and keep your back straight.
• Allow the tip of your index finger to gently touch the base of your thumb.
• Join the tips of your middle, ring and thumb fingers.
• Straighten your little finger
• Do this with both hands and place the back of your palms on your knees
• Close your eyes and direct your attention to your breath
• This mudra helps to direct Oxygen towards the heart and controls any problems related to the heart
• Keeps blood pressure in check
Common factors that affect the heart more often than not are negligence and a lack of awareness. Make a conscious effort to maintain a relaxed mind and a calm sense of being. Triggers such as depression, anxiety, unhealthy diet, lack of nutrition and erratic lifestyles must be avoided or eliminated from our lives. Eat healthy home-cooked food as fatty, heavily processed and oily foods can increase your blood pressure and lead to cardiovascular disorders.
Grand Master Akshar is a guest contributor. Views expressed are personal.