Follow your heart2

Follow your heart

Heart-healthy tips for your everyday life. By Jenny Baker

Consistent yoga practice, combined with healthy habits, provide countless benefits to your overall health. A synopsis of yoga and cardiovascular disease, published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, proposes that yoga can help lower heart disease. A study showed that people who took yoga classes found improvements to their overall heart health. In fact, participants lost an average of five pounds, took five points off their blood pressure and lowered their levels of LDL cholesterol by 12 points. Combine your practice with these healthy tips and you’ll be on your way to living a stronger, more heart-healthy life.

The Om Factor
Along with its many health benefits, yoga can help open your heart physically and emotionally. By adding these heart-opening poses to your weekly yoga practice, you can help your heart stay strong.

Bow Pose or Dhanurasana
Begin this pose by lying on your belly with your hands alongside your torso, palms facing upward. Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels towards your buttocks. Reach back with your hands and hold your ankles. Inhale and strongly lift your heels away from your buttocks while lifting your thighs away from the floor. As you continue to lift your heels and thighs higher, press your shoulder blades firmly against your back to give a nice heart-opener.

Cow Pose or Bitilasana
Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Keep your knees directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders perpendicular to the floor. On an inhale, lift your sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling, letting your belly sink toward the floor. Lift your head and look straight forward. On an exhale, come back to the neutral tabletop position on your hands and knees.

Ways to Keep You and Your Family Heart-Healthy
Take care of yourself and encourage your family to join you in making heart-healthy decisions! Here are a few easy lifestyle changes to make.

Exercise Together
It is so much more fun to move as a family! Make time in your schedule for exercise that is all inclusive. Take a yoga class or enjoy a nice walk together.

Nutrient-Packed Foods to Eat

These bright little fruits are a great source of antioxidants called ‘anthocyanins’, which give them their rich blue colour. Anthocyanins may help lower the risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases. Blueberries are also a great source of dietary fibre and Vitamin C, each of which contributes to great heart health in their own unique way.

Leafy Green Vegetables
Eating plenty of spinach, cabbage, kale, microgreens, and collard greens is a great way to protect your body and boost your overall health. These delicious, nutrient-packed powerhouse vegetables are great sources of carotenoids, dietary fibre, and folate, all of which promote healthy hearts.

There’s no better time than the present to make positive changes for the longevity of your health! Incorporate these helpful tips into your life to get started.

Jenny Baker is a writer and yoga and wellness enthusiast based in the USA. Find her on Instagram @jsbaker_

Follow your heart1

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.