Blood flow and yoga

13 May 20

Yoga is an incredible resource to increase blood flow and gain better circulation.
In my 30+ years of experience working with yoga and people suffering from pain, it’s become clear that yoga is an incredibly therapeutic tool that can help increase blood flow and in turn quality of life.

I personally have seen many of my students come into their classes limping with a cane and in pain and leaving walking normally and forgetting the cane at the door and from my experience I can accredit that result greatly to the circulatory effects of the practice of yoga. Sometimes all it takes for people to get relief from pain caused by arthritis or ex injuries is freshly oxygenated blood rushing through their veins and in the joints where they need it the most.

Many recent studies have shown that yoga and the positive effects of yoga on blood flow lead to less pain, more mobility and overall better quality of life.

Cathrine Woodyard recently published a study titled, “Exploring the therapeutic benefits of yoga and its ability to increase the quality of life”. Here, Catherine scientifically backs up everything that I have seen happen to my students over the past 30 years. She explains that yoga increases blood flow in asanas (the positions) and the level of hemoglobin and red blood cells which brings more oxygen to the cells in the body, inevitably increasing the function and effectiveness of the cells. She also explains that yoga thins the blood which leads to a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke which are usually caused by blood clots.

Specific poses also have specific effects. For those of you that have ever felt nauseated during a pose that has rotation or a twist here’s why: Rotations and twist in these poses wring out venous blood from the internal organs and rushes fresh blood into those organs when you release, which detoxifies the blood in those organs.

Other specific poses like inversion such as legs up the wall have similar blood flow responses to twist in other body parts. Legs up the wall encourage venous blood flow from the legs, pelvis and lower back all the way up to the heart and lungs where that blood is freshly oxygenated.

In addition, the regular practice of yoga has some specific benefits on blood flow in general. Many studies show that yoga increases endurance, decreases resting heart rate and improves cardiovascular functioning.

The overall effects of these benefits in blood flow are absolutely fantastic and are perfectly in line with what I’ve seen inside the classroom over the years with my students. Multiple studies show that yoga poses help reduce pain in people with arthritis, back pain and numerous other chronic conditions.

In addition to reducing pain yoga also has been proven to have positive effects on mood disorders, and stress reduction. The regular practice of yoga has also shown to help improve cardiovascular efficiency and homeostatic control of the body which can result in improved autonomic balance, respiratory function, and overall well-being.

Overall these studies are the scientific reason on why to do yoga. But outside of creating real tangible positive results on health, blood flow, mood, and quality of life yoga just feels good.