Celebrate American Heart Health Month with Heart-Healthy Yoga
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, with one in four people dying of it. That shocking statistic contributed to February being declared American Heart Health Month.
Although people typically associate Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped candy, health experts and citizens who want to achieve better health prefer to think of February as a month for assisting your heart’s health.
In addition to a healthier diet, lowering stress, and regular exercise, you can adopt a few daily yoga poses to help protect your heart from heart disease. Performing yoga exercises regularly can increase lung capacity, reduce inflammation and stress, and improve your heart rate.
Here are the most beneficial heart-healthy yoga poses:
1) Big Toe Pose
How to Do It: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Then, slowly lean forward and grab either your big toes or your opposite elbows. Stretch as much as you comfortably can. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths, then release.
Tip: Bend your knees slightly if your hamstrings are tight.
How it Helps: This pose can help alleviate high blood pressure and helps improve your circulation. It can also strengthen your leg muscles.
2) Reclining Big Toe Pose
How to Do It: Lie on your back with your arms by your side. Slowly bend your right knee until you can grasp your big toe. Then, slowly straighten your right leg while maintaining a hold on your big toe. Point your foot as closely towards the ceiling as you can. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat with your other leg.
How it Helps: Similar to the Standing Big Toe Pose, this pose can help improve circulation by stimulating your heart and reduce stress through the use of deep breathing.
3) Bridge Pose
How to Do It: Lie on your back with your arms by your side and your hands facing down. Bend your knees, slowly bringing your ankles as close to your posterior as possible. Exhale and lift your hips until they are parallel with the floor.
How it Helps: This pose maximizes your lung capacity, improves oxygen flow, and helps your heart stay active. While advanced yogis make it look effortless, this pose takes a lot of flexibility and strength, but the benefits are worth it.
No matter where you are on your fitness journey, it’s important to take good care of your heart by eating healthier and lowering your stress levels. Throwing in these daily yoga poses can help, too.