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TOP 5: Yoga poses to lower your cholesterol!

Last updated on: February 24, 2012 18:08 IST

TOP 5: Yoga poses to lower your cholesterol!

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Shameem Akhtar

Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Kerala, shows you five simple ways to tackle cholesterol.

Research increasingly proves that cholesterol levels may be managed with the right exercise and diet. Reducing stress is another way to tackle that puzzling reason why cholesterol levels may be high in individuals whose lifestyle may otherwise be rated as healthy.
 
It has been found that a vigorous exercise programme, which combines intensity, resistance training and stretching may be beneficial.

For intensity, pawan muktasana series  may be done dynamically. A few rounds of surya namaskars (these need to be taught in a phased manner) also provide the right intensity to your practice.

Resistance training benefits may be derived by doing arm balancers, variations of the plank pose (setu asana) and the downward-facing dog (adhomukha svanasana).  And yogic forward bends, standing poses, backbends will provide a vast range of stretches to choose from.

An effective programme should also include healing pranayamas like the anulom vilom (alternate nostril breathing) and ujjayi (victory breath) and healing meditation like the yoga nidra.

Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Kerala, shows you five simple ways to tackle cholesterol.


Image: Yoga poses to lower your cholesterol


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Rajju Karshanasana (Rope pulling)

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Sit with legs stretched out in front. Place hands along the legs, palms clenched. Begin to move them alternately, up and down, as if pulling on a rope. Breathing sequence must be normal, ideally synchronised with the movement (eg. As one hand goes inhale, and exhale as you drop it down). Do 15 times or so.
 
Benefits: Works the chest region, powers the heart, upper back and shoulders. Improves breathing, corrects postural defects. Provides a gentle but powerful workout to  the upper body.


Image: Rajju Karshanasana (Rope pulling)


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Pranamasana (Prayer pose)

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Place both hands behind, arranging the palms so they come together in a Namaste as shown. Continue normal breathing, pushing shoulders back, keeping chest out.

Ensure the palms are fully in contact : it may be not possible for those who have stiff upper back and weak chest muscles, but daily practice with awareness will reach you there. Hold for a minute or so.

It may be done both standing, or seated.
 
Benefits: Works out the chest, powers the heart, ups respiratory capacity, prevents and controls upper back and neck problems. Boosts mood.


Image: Pranamasana (Prayer pose)


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Shashankasana (Hare pose, variation)

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Kneel down. Clench fists, place them one over other as shown. Place fists on the ground. Inhale, exhaling lean forward to place forehead on the top fist, as shown. Continue breathing normally. Hips may be off the heels, as shown. Hold for half a minute initially.  Then, you may progressively increase duration in the final pose, as per comfort and through regular practice.
 
Avoid: If having knee problem.
 
Benefits: Calms, removing stress. Improves blood circulation ot the torso and head. The pressure at the stomach improves digestive efficiency. The head down position increases blood flow to the brain and the master glands there, initiating a healing cascade of hormonal flow. Makes the facial skin glow.


Image: Shashankasana (Hare pose, variation)


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Marjariasana (Cat stretch, variation)

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Kneel on your fours. Place both elbows in front. Inhale. Exhaling,stretch out the left elbow high, arm straight, twisting your head and torso to look up at the hand. Hold for ten to 15 seconds. Release, to repeat for the other side.
 
Avoid: If having a neck problem.
 
Benefits: Tones the whole body. Helps apply pressure on the liver, involved with cholesterol production. Is a detox pose.


Image: Marjariasana (Cat stretch, variation)


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Padasana (Leg raise, variation)

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Lie on your back. Hold the right thigh with both hands. Inhale. Exhaling, lift head up, while lifting the left leg also off the ground.

Continue holding the right thigh, breathing normally. 

Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Inhale, exhaling drop the leg down. Repeat for the other leg.
 
Benefits: It has a huge cluster of benefits, including stress reduction, preventing and controlling insomnia; it is used as therapy in all major ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory problems, cholesterol management, and all spinal problems.


Image: Padasana (Leg raise, variation)

Tags: Padasana

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