Yoga is a popular form of exercise that has been shown to have numerous physical and mental health benefits. However, if you have a heart condition, it’s important to be cautious when practising yoga. One of the major heart conditions seen in most individuals are coronary artery heart diseases which leads to heart blockages and heart attacks. There are some yoga poses that can be dangerous for people with such heart conditions, and it’s important to avoid them in order to reduce the risk of complications.
Somebody who has just recovered from any form of coronary artery disease must avoid inversions during Yoga. Also, it is advised that any form of yoga that requires a lot of body movement or any kind of dynamic breathing exercises must be avoided.
Here are some yoga poses that you should never do if you have a heart condition:
1. Headstand (Sirsasana)
Headstand is an advanced yoga pose that involves balancing on the head with the body inverted. Headstands are performed in opposition to gravity, which pumps blood to the head and may raise intracranial pressure which can prove harmful to those with health diseases.
2. Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)
Handstand is another advanced yoga pose that can put a lot of strain on the heart. It is a physically demanding cardioactive stance because the back-and-forth breathing rhythm forces the heart to pump more blood, which might put strain on it and have negative effects. Therefore, it is obvious that anyone with any type of cardiac condition should avoid it.
3. Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
Shoulder Stand is an inversion that can put a lot of pressure on the neck and spine, which can increase blood pressure and heart rate. If you have just recovered or have a continued coronary artery disease, it’s important to avoid Shoulder Stand as this requires a lot of energy and puts excess strain on the body vessels. In this asana, the head is on the ground, the body is supported by the arms, and the body is maintained upright. Since the legs are supported above the heart, the heart must work harder to pump blood to the lower body which is certainly not recommended for a heart patient.
This is a forward bend pose that involves bending forward from the hips while keeping the legs straight. This pose can increase blood pressure and heart rate which is not suitable for individuals with heart conditions or high blood pressure.
5. Kapalbhati and bhastrika
Kapalbhati and bhastrika are both breathing exercises that involve forceful exhalations and rapid inhalations. These breathing techniques can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous for individuals with certain heart conditions, especially those with a pacemaker.
So, if you have a heart condition, you need to be careful with the duration for which you hold a yoga pose. Practice wisely to avoid any detrimental effects of this very effective exercise form. Also, it is advisable to consult your doctor before attending the Yoga sessions and seek guidance on what works best for you.
(This article has been written by Dr Avantika Krishna Killa, Naturopathy – Yoga Physician and Founder, Panchatattva)
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