Our third reason (of fifty) to do yoga this year is to help improve your circulation. Hands and feet always cold? Feel weak and lethargic? Foggy brained? When oxygen is not reaching the extremities of the body, they become cold and sometimes even numb! When fresh oxygen is not reaching the brain, and toxins hang around in the blood stream too long, then you will begin to feel weak, lethargic and your brain won’t function at it’s optimum capacity. This is all linked to circulation, and yoga can help. Yoga gets oxygen pumping through the bloodstream and detoxifies it at the same time!
I always like to state in these blogs that I am not a doctor, and none of this should be used or substituted as medical advice! I have included some links to articles written by doctors that you may like to reference, but always consult with your medical professional before beginning any fitness routine.
How does yoga help with circulation in the body? It starts simply through pranayama (breathing exercises), which even though they tend to slow the heart rate, deep breathing also brings fresh oxygen into the blood stream (inhale) and helps rid it of toxins (exhale). There is a powerful breathe called kapabali breathing (breath of fire) which definitely gets circulation pumping, but should not be done if you suffer from high blood pressure.
Yoga asanas (stretches and postures) help improve our circulation through movement and changing the body positions to create space and “push” blood through all areas of the body. Sun salutations are a great example of a way to get the heart moving, blood pumping and the mind clear. If a more gentle practice is appropriate for you, focus on half-inversions such as “legs up the wall” pose or “rag doll”. A well rounded practice should always include the 6 movements of the spine so make sure you include a forward bend, back bend, side stretch (on each side of course) and twist (in both directions).
Would you like to learn more? Here are a few articles I discovered: