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Yoga has a multitude of health benefits. It goes beyond regular stretching and aerobic exercise. Yoga is a powerful science that can align the body and mind in a way so as to reduce ailments, increase positive energies, and improve health and wellness. Certain conditions require medication and cannot be supplemented by alternative healing practices. High cholesterol, however, is an ailment that can be effectively controlled by monitoring one’s food intake and practising certain asanas regularly.
How Does Yoga Help to Lower and Control Your Cholesterol Levels?
To understand the answer to the question- can yoga lower cholesterol, you should understand what cholesterol really is and is it all bad. Cholesterol is a fat-like and waxy substance that is found in the cells of our body. The amount of cholesterol required for bodily functions can be produced by the body itself, and any additional fat that you consume will clog your arteries.
Regular practice of certain asanas will help balance the flow of energy in the body. This reduces stress, helps in weight reduction, eliminates toxins, calibrates digestive functions, calms the nervous system, and improves blood circulation. Reducing weight and cutting down on mental stress can work wonders on the cholesterol levels in the body.
Yoga Poses to Reduce Your Cholesterol Levels and Get Healthy
Here are a few poses that could be beneficial for you. Yoga for high cholesterol should be practised regularly to see results.
1. Ardha Matsyendrasana
This sitting half spinal twist helps to massage the abdominal organs. It improves digestive function and stimulates the liver. It is named after the yogi Matsyendranath and also goes by the half- king of the fish pose.
How to Do
- Sit with your legs stretched. Put your feet together and keep your spine erect.
- Bend the left leg so that the heel is adjacent to the right hip.
- Place your right leg over the knee of the left leg.
- Twist your waist, shoulder and neck towards the right, looking over the right shoulder.
- Stretch your right arm and grasp your left foot.
- Hold the pose for 30 to seconds while breathing deeply.
- Exhale and release slowly.
This asana is also known as the grasshopper or locust pose. It looks simple but is a tough asana to perform. Regular practice can help you perfect this pose. The pose improves blood circulation and regulates metabolism. It helps you lose weight and reduces stress. Avoid this asana if you suffer from migraines or if you are pregnant.
How to Do
- Lie flat on your abdomen and place your hands by the side.
- Lift your legs as you inhale along with the upper torso.
- Use your inner thighs to lift your leg without bending the knees. Your weight has to rest on the lower abdomen.
- Hold this pose for a minute and release.
Vajra means diamond and this asana is one of the important practices in hatha yoga. This is also one of the only asanas that can be performed even after eating. This asana massages the digestive organ and aids digestion. It helps in relieving the stress of muscular cramps, and it improves the circulation of blood to lower cholesterol.
How to Do
- Kneel down with your feet stretched behind you. Make sure the big toes touch each other.
- Lower your body onto your buttocks are resting and rest them on your heels so that the thighs rest on the calf muscles.
- Keep the hands on the knees and look forward while keeping your head straight.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Remain in the pose for 5 to 10 minutes.
Sarvangasana helps regulate thyroid hormones. Regulation of these hormones helps in breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the body. This improves metabolism and reduces the accumulation of cholesterol.
How to Do
- Lie level on your back with the legs together and arms by your side.
- In one movement, raise your legs and buttocks with your back, keeping the elbows as support to your lower body. Stand on your shoulders with your hands supporting your back.
- Keep your elbows close to each other.
- Maintain straightness of spine and legs. The upper arms and shoulder should support the body.
- Keep your toes pointed and hold the pose for a minute. Breathe deeply.
- If you feel your neck straining, release from the pose gently.
- Lower your knees first to relax the pose.
Also known as the half-bow or urdhva dhanurasana, this asana helps in enhancing the vitality of the heart. It stimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands and helps in boosting metabolism.
How to Do
- Lie flat on the floor and bend your knees to bring the soles close to your buttocks. Keep the feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands behind your shoulders and ensure that your fingers are spread open. Point the fingers towards the shoulders.
- Bring your weight up and balance on your limbs. The entire body should rise off the mat. The head should hang gently, and your neck should stretch out.
- Take slow and deep breaths.
- Hold this pose for one minute at least. Release by bending the arms and legs while lowering your back to the ground. Rest in Shavasana before continuing your practice.
This asana bends the body to look like a triangle and therefore is called trikonasana. It helps to reduce body weight from the sides of the hip and waist. Reducing the fat from here will help your organs like liver and pancreas to function better. Calf and thigh muscles are also toned.
How to Do
- Stand upright with your legs about four feet apart.
- Keep the right foot at a 90-degree angle and the left foot at 15-degrees.
- Keep the feet perpendicularly aligned.
- Keep your body weight balanced equally on both your feet.
- Breathe deeply and with an exhalation, bend your body on the right from your hip while making sure that the waist remains straight. Lift the left hand up while the right-hand touches the ground. The arms should produce a straight line.
- Stretch to the maximum while maintaining focus and stability in your body. Inhale and come back up. Bring the arms to the side before straightening your feet.
- Repeat for the left side.
Apart from these asanas you can do pranayama regularly and maintain a balanced diet. Eat fibre-rich foods and have an active lifestyle to avoid cholesterol accumulation and related health issues.