Yoga is an excellent way to strengthen the heart. Not only will a vigorous yoga sequence get the heart pumping but engaging in a regular yoga practice will help to lower and regulate the blood pressure.
Incorporate these 5 yoga poses to nurture a healthy heart.
Standing forward bend
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a deep breath in, then exhale as you bend forward from the hips.
- Reach for your knees, shins, toes or floor.
- Aim to press your chest against your thighs.
- Shake your head “yes” and “no” to relax the muscles in your head and neck.
- Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths.
- Stand in Mountain pose with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale and raise your arms toward the sky. Keep the arms parallel, palms facing each other.
- Exhale and bend your knees. Focus your weight in your heels while sitting back as if you are about to sit in a chair. Lean the torso slightly forward over the thighs. Keep the thighs parallel to each other.
- Keep your torso long. Press your shoulder blades together.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute. Release the pose by straightening your knees with an inhalation. Exhale and release your arms to your sides.
- Lie on your back with your knees bend. Tighten your stomach.
- Gently rock your legs from side to side.
- Exhale allowing your legs to fall to the right. Inhale using your core to raise them to the center. Exhale allowing them to fall to the left. Inhale using your core to raise them back to center. Repeat this several times.
- Exhale allowing the legs to fall to the left making sure that the legs are stacked on top of each other. Turn your head, neck and navel to the left. Try to keep both shoulders on the ground.
- Your arms should be out to the side away from the body with the palms upward.
- Hold for 5 counts.
- Repeat the other side.
- Stand in mountain pose. Step your feet wide, about 3½ to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor with your palms facing down. Turn your left foot in 45 degrees to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Adjust the heels so they are aligned.
- As you exhale, reach your right hand down and to your shins or the floor. If needed, place a yoga block against your inner right foot and rest your palm there. Keep your legs straight. Aim your gaze to your left hand.
- Press the right palm down against the shin or ground and reach your left hand toward the sky simultaneously. Stay long through the torso. Breathe and stretch.
- Stay in this pose from 30 seconds to one minute. Exhale and release the twist. Repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed, twisting to the left.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Reach your hands, palms down, as far out in front of you as possible.
- Send your hips back, with your thighs vertical. Sink the chest closer to the floor for a deeper stretch. Breathe.
- Hold the pose for 5 breaths.