When I write a prescription for fitness or heart health, my patients usually ask the first question –
“Is yoga safe for heart patients?”
“Is yoga good for cardiovascular health?”
The answer is Yes, but if we do it under the guidance of a trained Yoga practitioner.
In general, we believe that aerobic exercise is excellent for heart health. An aerobic workout that raises your heart rate is known as cardio. We all regularly engage in aerobic exercises like walking, biking, and climbing a few flights of stairs. One of the finest things you can do for your heart and body is regular, moderate aerobic exercise, but what if you’re old, have heart disease, can’t join a gym for cardio but still want to be healthy, or have doctor’s restrictions on physical exercises?
Yoga derives its name from the Sanskrit word “YUJ,” which means “to bind”, “to join”, or “to apply”. Yoga is the control of the mind’s processes, according to Maharshi Patanjali. Yoga’s positive impacts on human health have been thoroughly researched. Nowadays it is practiced all over the world and has been shown to significantly reduce mortality and morbidity from heart diseases.
Yoga is primarily a stretching and balance-building activity. It will not directly raise your heart rate like cardio. Along with asanas, this ancient tradition combines breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. Together, these practices can lead to positive changes in heart-healthy factors such as lower blood pressure, better sleep, and improved blood vessel function and elasticity.
Yoga and meditation for high blood pressure –
According to a study that investigated the effects of yoga on heart health in hypertensive patients. When yoga was included in a 3-month fitness training program for patients with hypertension, there was a greater improvement in resting heart rate, blood pressure, and Reynolds Risk Score compared to stretching exercises.
As a result, both ancient science and modern research agree that yoga is beneficial for promoting heart health.
How to Practice Yoga for Heart Health –
Asana is the Sanskrit word for “posture.” Although the asanas can be done anywhere, it is best to execute them on an empty stomach.
If you are a beginner looking to begin a yoga practice to improve heart health, here are some good tips to get you started:
- Consult with your healthcare provider:
Speak with your doctor, before beginning any new workout program.
- Find a Yoga instructor: Look for a yoga instructor who has worked with people who have heart problems. They can walk you through safe and effective practices and make changes as needed.
- Start with postures that are gentle and simple for beginners: Mountain pose, tree pose, and child’s pose are good postures to start. Avoid any poses that are painful or strenuous and instead concentrate on good alignment and breathing.
- Including pranayama: Breath control techniques, or pranayama, have been shown to have special benefits for heart health. You can try Ujjayi breathing, Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), or Kapalabhati (skull-shining breath) to help with stress and blood pressure reduction.
- Develop a regular habit of practicing Yoga: To experience the best results for heart health, aim to practice yoga at least three to four times each week. When your endurance increases, begin with shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes and progressively build up to longer sessions.
- Listen to your body: It is essential to listen to your body and make changes or breaks as needed. If a pose or exercise does not feel right, do not force yourself to continue.
The following are a few of the common asanas that are done in various positions to improve Heart Health –
1. Vrikshasana –
Remember that yoga is about connecting the mind and body and promoting heart health.