The circulation of blood is one of the most important functions in the human body. Providing the internal organs with oxygen and nutrients, good blood circulation keeps the body functioning smoothly. Those with good blood circulation will enjoy healthy cell growth, higher energy levels, and improved cognitive ability. Poor circulation, on the other hand, can cause dizziness, muscle discomfort, blood clots, and even permanent damage to the nerves and tissue. While some people are lucky enough to have good circulation naturally, others may need to help the process along. Thankfully, this can be achieved easily through yoga. In this article, we explore how to use yoga to improve blood circulation. Before trying out the postures below, it’s worth picking up a comfortable yoga mat to practice on.
Inverted posture, Legs Up The Wall Pose, works to improve circulation. When performing this asana, the legs are at a higher level than the heart. This causes gravity to draw the blood toward the heart and improve circulation. To practice this posture, 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 are in Legs Up The Wall Pose. Hold the pose for around 5 minutes or however long feels most comfortable.
Increasing the elasticity of the blood vessels, Mountain Pose is ideal for improving circulation. To practice the posture, stand tall with your feet beneath your hips. To maintain balance, keep your feet parallel to one another with your toes spread wide. Distribute your weight evenly through each foot, ensuring you are not shifting your center of gravity forward or back. Next, engage your thighs and bring your tailbone in slightly. While your legs should be kept straight, it’s important to not lock the knees. As you inhale, lengthen your spine as you draw your head toward the ceiling. As you exhale, bring your shoulders down and back and reach your fingertips toward the floor. On your next inhale, bring your arms up and reach your fingers toward the ceiling. Finally, bring the palms of your hands together whilst still reaching your arms upward. You are in Mountain Pose. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply. When you’re ready to release the pose, bring your arms back down to your sides as you exhale.
Stretching out the body, Chair Pose promotes blood flow to all of the major organs. To practice the asana, stand tall with your big toes touching. Taking a deep breath in, raise your arms above your head and point your fingertips toward the ceiling. Draw both your shoulders back as you lengthen your neck. As you exhale, bend your knees and begin to lower your bottom down and back, much like you would when sitting on a chair. At this stage, it’s important to not let your knees extend past your toes. Each time you inhale, lengthen your spine a little more. With each exhale, deepen the stretch by lowering your bottom further toward the floor. You are in Chair Pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Warrior Pose is another great asana for improving your circulation. When performing this asana, the veins in the legs compress and decompress. Producing a pump effect, this causes the blood to be pushed towards the heart. To practice the asana, begin by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot forward until your feet are around 4 feet apart. Next, raise your arms out to your sides until they are parallel to the floor. Both of your palms should remain facing down. Keeping your right foot facing forward, turn your left foot out to the left by 90 degrees. Your left and right heel should now be aligned. Next, bend your right knee over your right ankle, keeping your shin perpendicular to the ground. Once you’ve done so, draw your left leg backward until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Your weight should now be placed on your right leg rather than the left; however, it’s important not to lean your upper body over the left thigh. Your shoulders should remain directly above the hips. Pressing your tailbone forward slightly, turn your head to the left and gaze over your fingers. You are in Warrior Pose. Hold the posture for around 45 seconds or until it starts to feel uncomfortable. To increase circulation, remember to breathe deeply throughout the asana.
When practicing Corpse Pose, the capillaries and the muscles are completed relaxed. The allows the blood to flow easily through the capillaries and maintain good circulation. Additionally, the restorative nature of this pose helps to reduce blood pressure. Better still, the asana is simple to practice! To begin, lie down on your back with both legs stretched out. Finally, relax your arms down by your sides. You are in Corpse Pose. Hold the posture for around 5 minutes. When practiced at the end of a session, this time can be used to relax and reflect on the class.
If you’re experiencing numbness, tingling, or even just cold hands and feet, you could be suffering from poor circulation. While this is nothing to worry about, it could lead to more serious health issues if the right precautions are not taken. Thankfully, practicing the yoga postures above is a great way to improve blood circulation, whilst reaping the other benefits of yoga, too! When attending a local class, you may be advised to bring your own equipment rather than relying on studio supplies. If this is the case, it may be worth picking up a spacious yoga bag to transport your gear to and from each session.