How does yoga benefit the heart?
There is evidence that by improving our breathing we help to improve the health of the heart so breathing practices and pranayama are an important part of yoga practice. Also stress puts a strain on the heart so yoga will help us deal better with stress.
Postures that help to open the chest will increase breath capacity as well as improve posture. Yoga philosophy tells us that there are seven chakras positioned down the mid line of the body. These chakras or energy centres control the flow of prana throughout the body. The Fourth chakra is the heart chakra and it is behind the heart. The heart chakra governs our ability to love and to have good relationships, and ultimately to feel unconditional love for all beings.
In our practice we focused on postures that opened the chest which are usually back bends so care needs to be taken when practising these if there are any back problems. We finished with a visualisation where we breathed into the heart and visualised the heart energy radiating outwards to the whole body.