Zen Out! How Yoga Can Improve Blood Flow
We've all heard the health benefits of yoga. The inverted poses, like downward facing dog, can increase blood flow to the brain and heart and relax tense shoulders. But girl - there is so much more!
Yoga is more than just downward dogs and warrior jumps - let us show you what you're missing out on 💁🏽♀️
Yoga Helps You Learn to Relax
Yoga is a great way to stay relaxed and healthy.
Why is relaxation so important? Because it helps your body function better. Relaxation helps circulation, movement brings more oxygen to your cells (which function better as a result), twisting brings fresh oxygenated blood to organs, and inversions reverse blood flow from the lower body to the brain and heart.
The meditative aspects of yoga help minimize anxiety and depression, both of which are linked to hypertension. Yoga leads to feeling calmer, healthier and happier (and who couldn't use a little more of that?).
Improve Your Circulation
It's common knowledge that yoga can help improve your circulation. What you might not know is that it's not just the high-intensity, sweat-inducing poses like warrior II or sun salutations that make a difference! Even some of the most basic poses can have an impact on your blood flow.
One simple move? Cat-cow pose. This move is all about stretching and opening your spine, which helps to optimize blood flow to the spleen, kidneys and organs.
(this is not the cat-cow pose we're talking about! 🐱)
Another good one? Reclined spinal twist. This pose stretches out the back of your body, helping to get more blood flowing there as well.
Finally, if you're looking for something a little more intense, try some hip openers like pigeon pose or cobra pose—they'll help you get those hips moving in their full range of motion while increasing circulation at the same time!
Inversions Bring Blood Flow Back to The Heart
Inversions in yoga, are great for reversing the flow of blood from your lower body to your brain and heart. When you're upside down, the pressure on your legs forces blood flow up to the heart and brain instead of down to your feet.
This is great because it means that you're reversing the usual circulation pattern while also increasing blood flow to these vital organs. The result: better circulation throughout the body and better oxygenation of organs.
Inversions can also help improve digestion, increase energy levels, relieve stress and anxiety, improve posture, strengthen muscles and joints, reduce stiffness in the neck and back (especially if you have scoliosis), increase mental focus and clarity - all while reducing inflammation throughout your body!
Body + Mind Benefits
Breathing techniques, like inhaling slowly through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth relaxes the nervous system, which lowers cortisol levels - reducing stress and improving blood flow.
Yoga also improves cardiovascular and respiratory endurance by raising your heart rate and strengthening your muscles. By strengthening your muscles you increase your flexibility (win-win if you ask us!). Ultimately reducing back pain by increasing core strength and improving posture. 🧘♀️
While yoga is great for the whole body and can be modified to suit practitioners of any fitness level, blood flow is an overlooked beneficiary. Yoga's goal of helping your mind and body connect, can also help improve blood flow. The techniques used in yoga - like relaxation and focusing your breathing - help trigger the release of endorphins, which are "happy hormones", so you can enjoy a natural high without having to do any strenuous exercise at all!