General Health

Heart Failure; Basic Yoga Movements

Heart Failure; Basic Yoga Movements

 

 

I have yet to come across anything that has helped me more than Yoga (excluding my Parents lol).  Never have I thought of myself as a “Yoga” guy. I thought Yoga was for women and Hippie guys but, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Let’s set aside the Mental Clarity I get from Yoga and focus on the physical benefits I receive.

The Flexibility I gained in such a short amount of time has been insane. My injuries from lifting have greatly decreased. I sleep better and feel more awake during the day. I have noticed my circulation has also improved, which is great; because of my heart failure my toes and fingers become frozen at times. I noticed after the first week that issue all but disappeared.

Yogi I am Not!

I am truly a beginner at Yoga and make no claims to be an expert. All I want to do is show you what has been working for me. I started out with these ten movements and have slowly increased the amount of moves I am learning.  Listed below are ten moves. I hope you enjoy. Please feel free the leave a comment or share.

 Standing Forward Bend

The Standing forward bend can calm your mind, while also stretching the hamstrings and muscles of the spine.

Start in mountain pose with your hands on your hips, then exhale, tucking your chin slightly toward your chest and bending forward at the hips. (As you fold forward, lengthen the front of your torso to avoid curling the spine.) Relax your head, neck and shoulders and let your arms hang loosely.

Place your palms or fingertips on the floor beside or slightly in front of your feet. (If you can’t touch the floor, cross your arms and grab your elbows.) To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your hips and lift up on an inhale. Keep your chin tucked and lengthen the front of your torso as you come back up.

 

Tree
The tree pose will improve your focus while strengthening the muscles in our ankles, calves and thighs. It also gives a great stretch to the inner thigh and groin muscles on the bent leg.

Start by shifting your weight onto your right foot, pressing it firmly onto the floor. Bend the left leg at the knee and place the sole of the left foot on your inner right thigh. Point the toes toward the floor. If this is difficult, you can also place the sole of the foot on the inner calf or ankle.

Bring your palms together in front of your chest and keep your weight centered over the left foot. Press the right knee back to open the groin while keeping your hips parallel to the front of the room. Release the foot and repeat on the other side.

Mountain
This simple and effective Yoga move is a solid foundation for all standing poses. It strengthens and brings flexibility to our feet, improves our posture, and works our thighs and core.

Start By standing with your big toes touching and heels slightly apart. Balance the weight evenly on your feet and lift up the arches. Engage the thigh muscles slightly to lift up the kneecaps, and avoid locking your knees.

 Warrior 1

Warrior I is often encountered during the Sun Salutation. In addition to improving your balance, this pose stretches and strengthens the ankles, calves and thighs. It also stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and groin.

From mountain pose, step your right foot forward and lift your arms overhead. Turn your left foot 44 to 60 degrees to the left. Bend your right knee until it is over the ankle. Bring the hips parallel to the front of the room. Arch your upper back slightly, lifting your chest up toward the ceiling. Press your palms together, if possible, or keep your hands shoulder width apart with your palms facing each other. Look forward or up at your thumbs. When done, step the right foot back into mountain pose. Repeat on the other side.

 Boat

The boat pose works the deep hip flexors, as well as the spine. If you add in the arms, even your shoulders will get stronger.

Begin seated with your legs extended in front of you. Press your hands into the floor just behind the hips, pointing your fingers forward. Lean back slightly and lift up through your chest, to keep your back from rounding. As you exhale, bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor until your thighs are at a 45-degree angle from the floor. Straighten your legs slowly. When you feel stable, lift your arms off the floor and bring them out in front of you, parallel to the floor with the palms facing each other. To come out of the pose, lower your legs and arms as you exhale.

 

 High Lunge

This is also known as crescent lunge; this is similar to Warrior I, except the back heel is lifted and the feet are about hip width apart. You may find it easier to keep your hips parallel to the front of the room, but your leg muscles will work harder to maintain your balance. High lunge will also strengthen the arms and stretch the muscles of the groin.

Start in downward-facing dog. As you exhale, step your left foot forward between your hands, keeping your left knee over the ankle and your feet hip-width apart. As you inhale, lift your torso upright and bring your arms out to the side and overhead. If possible, bring your palms together or keep the hands shoulder width apart with the palms facing each other. Press back through your right heel and lift up through the torso. To come out of the pose, bring your hands to the floor as you exhale and step back to downward-facing dog. Repeat on the other side.

 Downward-Facing Dog

Downward-facing dog, another pose found in the Sun Salutation, strengthens the legs and arms, while stretching the calves, hamstrings, shoulders, hands and wrists.

You will start on your hands and knees, with your hands just in front of your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Press your hands firmly onto the floor, with index fingers pointing forward. As you exhale, lift your knees off the floor, keeping the knees slightly bent.

Stretch your tailbone toward the ceiling to lengthen your spine. Press your heels down toward the floor and your thighs back to straighten your legs. Keep pressing the base of your index fingers into the floor and lift along your arms from your hands to your shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades against your back and down toward your tailbone. When done, drop your knees to the floor.

 

Locust

The Locust pose is a great way to slowly strengthen your back and prepare you for more  back bends. In addition to working the muscles of the spine, locust strengthens the buttocks and the muscles on the back side of the arms and legs. It will also stretch the chest, shoulders and thighs.

Start by lying on your belly with your forehead on the floor and your hands by your hips, palms facing up. Point your big toes toward each other slightly to roll your thighs inward. As you exhale, lift your head, chest, arms and legs off the floor. Rest your weight on your belly, lower ribs and pelvis.

Inhale, lengthen your spine by stretching your head forward and your legs backward. Then stretch back through your fingertips while keeping your arms parallel to the floor. Look down or slightly forward to avoid crunching your neck backward. Lower down on an exhale.

Reclining Toe Pose

This is one of the best yoga poses for stretching the hamstrings; it also stretches the hips, groin, and calves. When done properly, it will even strengthen the knees.

Start by Laying on your back exhale, bend the left knee and pull it toward your chest. Keep the other leg pressed firmly onto the floor while pushing the right heel away from you. Hold a strap in both hands and loop it around the middle of your left foot.  Inhale, straighten your left leg slowly toward the ceiling. Move your hands up the strap until your arms are straight, while pressing your shoulders into the floor.

Once your left leg is straight, engage the left thigh slightly and pull the foot toward your head to increase the stretch. Stay here for 2 to 4 minutes. Then lower the left leg slowly toward the ground, keeping the right thigh pressed into the floor. Continue until the left leg is a few inches off the floor. Work the foot forward until it is in line with your shoulders. Inhale your leg back to vertical. Lower the leg and repeat on the other side.

 

 Bridge

Much deeper backbend than the locust bridge pose stretches the front side of the body, as well as the spine and the rib cage.

To begin; lie on your back with your arms by your side; bend your knees and bring your heels close to your buttocks, with the feet about hip width apart. As you exhale, push your feet and arms into the floor and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Keep your thighs parallel as your lift. Lace your fingers beneath your pelvis and stretch your arms toward your feet. When ready to come out of the pose, release the hands and lower your hips slowly to the floor on an exhale.

 

 

This is just the Tip.

 

There are so many Yoga moves and Flows to try. I suggest surfing YouTube for some fun free Yoga instructions. If you are new to Yoga like me, you will be amazed at the different flows they have to help with various needs. Don’t be afraid to take a Class. Get out of your Bubble. Try new things you never know what it will bring into your Life. Please feel free to leave a comment and suggest a move or Video We should check out.

 

Thanks for Reading,

Jim

Finding Westwood

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