3 Postures for Heart Health
EAGLE POSE (Garudasana) – Eagle pose works to compress the major joint intersections of the body. This compression slows blood flow into the extremities and focuses the major blood volume to move through the torso, head and heart. There are many expressions of Eagle pose and each variety of the posture can yield slightly different benefits. In the “hot yoga” world, Eagle pose is practiced by pulling the intertwined arms close into the body with the extended fingers at or just below nose level. By compressing the arms into the upper torso the heart experiences a deep compression literally working to squeeze the heart muscle giving your heart a mini muscle massage. Upon release of the arms back into the air a rush of blood volume floods the heart and extremities until a normal blood flow is established. This rush of blood assists in toning the heart muscle itself as well as toning the muscles of the arterial walls. An incredibly cleansing posture for not just your joints but the “heart” of your circulatory system.
TRIANGLE POSE (Trikonasana) – Triangle posture has numerous expressions throughout the yoga community and, like other postures, each expression provides a slightly different and sometimes greatly different benefit. In the “hot yoga” expression of Triangle pose the lengthening of the arms open and apart from each other cleanses and elongates the meridian lines of the heart and lungs. This incredible opening of these important energy pathways helps to support the energetic and vital functions as well as the oxygen rich relationship of the heart with the lungs. Clearing stagnant energy and re-vitalizing lazy cells Triangle pose is a peak posture for the peak health of your heart.
BALANCING STAFF POSE (Tuladandasana) – Balancing staff pose is all about speed and rate. This posture variation as it is practiced in “hot yoga” directs the bodies energy forcefully and specifically through the entire length of the body one side at a time. By pointing both the toes and fingers in a linear parallel line to the floor the body sends blood and energy rapidly through the heart to reach from one end of the body to the other. The 90 degree pivot on the standing leg helps to prevent energy and blood volume from being lost in the foundation leg which, then directs the remaining blood volume throughout the rest of the body. The increased rate that one experiences while practicing the posture is one reason why it is generally held for a shorter period of time which, teaches the body how to ramp up heart rate quickly as well as lower heart rate quickly. In this manner the practitioner becomes more efficient and responsive in both raising and lowering the rate of their beating heart in times when it is needed most.
In most postures the practitioner experiences benefits in the individual expressions of the masculine side of the body and the feminine side of the body. Notice that these benefits expand globally through most postures that have a right and left side expression. Each side of the body represents the male and female energies of the practitioner and the unique benefit of this posture is in this relationship of this duality. By example in Balancing Staff Pose, first the left side, with the right leg as the base, feminine energy rushes and expands from the heart to the toes and from the heart towards the fingers. The heart rate rapidly increases to accommodate the tremendous energy that is flooding throughout the body. The left side represents the energy of the moon (tha, yin, female) in all its glory. In reciprocal the practitioner repeats the process on the right side, with the left leg as the base, honouring the sun being the masculine energy and all the courage that follows (ha, yang, male).
Dr. John Surie