Supplying the organs with oxygen and nutrients, the circulation of blood is an important function. Those with good circulation can enjoy healthy skin, high energy levels, and improved cognitive ability. On the other hand, those with poor circulation may suffer from numbness, muscle cramps, and dizziness. If left untreated, poor circulation can lead to more serious health issues such as nerve damage, tissue damage, and even blood clots.
But what can we do to improve our circulation? Luckily, our circulation can be improved easily through yoga. When practised regularly, yoga can improve blood flow and supply the vital organs with oxygen-rich blood. Inverted postures, such as headstands, increase blood flow by relaxing the sympathetic nervous system. As the muscles surrounding the sympathetic veins are relaxed, blood can flow through the body with ease. Stretching postures can also improve blood circulation; by opening up the body, fresh, oxygen-ated blood is supplied to the muscles. Better still, yoga can be practised with minimal equipment! All you need to get started is some comfortable yoga clothes. In this article, we explore how to use yoga to im-prove blood circulation.
A type of inversion posture, Legs Up the Wall Pose is great for improving circulation. During the posture, your legs are held above your heart. This encourages blood to flow around the body and prevents pooling.
To begin, place the shortest side of your yoga mat against a wall. When your mat is in place, sit down facing the wall. Gently lie back on the mat and extend both legs up the wall. Make sure that your bottom is almost touching the wall and that your legs are close together. You can either rest your hands on your stomach or on the mat – whatever feels most comfortable. You are in Legs Up The Wall Pose. Close your eyes and relax, holding the pose for around 5 minutes.
Supplying fresh blood and oxygen to the brain and heart, Supported Shoulderstand is another popular inversion.
To practice the asana, lie down on your back with your knees bent. When you’re ready, begin to lift your feet and buttocks off the ground. Place your hands on your lower back for support, keeping your upper arms and elbows on the floor. Next, extend your legs towards the ceiling, keeping them together and aligned with your torso. On your next inhale, straighten your knees. Your heels should now be pointing toward the ceiling. Finally, bring your chest toward your chin. You are in Supported Shoulderstand. Hold the pose for around 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply. When you’re ready to exit the posture, slowly bring your legs back down to the mat.
Improving blood flow to the arms, legs, and spine, Upward Bow pose is great for boosting circulation. Additionally, the pose can help with cell growth. This makes the asana ideal for children and young adults. To practice the asana, lie flat on your stomach. Next, bend both your knees and bring your legs up behind you. Slowly lift your chest off the ground and reach your arms back to grab your feet. You are in Bow Pose. Hold the posture for around 30 seconds before releasing your feet and lowering your legs back to the mat.
Renowned yoga pose, Downward-Facing Dog, works to improve blood circulation. Putting your hips above your heart and your head below your heart, the pose encourages blood to flow to the brain. Additionally, the posture improves circulation to the legs by strengthening them.
To practice the posture, stand tall with your feet should-width apart. Hinging at the waist, slowly lower your torso forward until your body forms a triangle. Your hands and feet should now be securely on the ground. If your shoulders or hamstrings feel too tight for the pose, try bending your knees slightly to make the posture easier. Spreading your fingers for additional balance, move your head forward until it is in-between your upper arms. You are in Downward Dog. Hold the asana for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply. If you feel comfortable, the pose can be held for a longer duration.
Stretching the legs, hips, and upper body, Forward Folds are great for boosting circulation. Additionally, the pose puts your head below your heart. When in this position, oxygen-rich blow can flow to the brain and support cognitive function. Regular practice of this posture can also help to reduce headaches and back pain by releasing tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. Over time, Forward Fold can also combat high blood pressure.
To practice the asana, stand tall with your feet directly under your hips. Bend forward at the waist and begin to lower your upper body toward the floor. To ensure pressure on the lower back is minimised, remember to bend your knees generously throughout the pose. Next, take hold of your ankles and let your body hang naturally toward the floor. You are in Forward Fold. Hold the posture for 1 minute whilst breathing deeply. If you want to increase the stretch, slowly sway your upper body from side to side.
Whether you’re suffering from cold hands or you’re experiencing numbness and tingling, the yoga poses above can improve your circulation. Even if you’re not experiencing symptoms of poor circulation, that doesn’t mean your circulation can’t be improved. Practising yoga for a few minutes each day can drastically improve blood flow and help the body to function optimally. For best results, the body needs to be able to stretch without restrictions. With this in mind, it’s important to wear a flexible yoga vest whilst your practice.