Apart from its many benefits, Yoga can help reduce your risk of suffering from stroke. A combination of asanas, healthy diet and stress-free lifestyle could help. A stroke typically occurs when blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or reduced which may damage the brain tissues.
The risk factors for a stroke include conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes which can be controlled by practicing Yoga. Studies also prove that the ancient practice also thins the blood which can decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, as they are often caused by blood clots.
“Studies indicate that holistic practices such as yoga aid in the prevention, management and recovery of stroke in people. Mindfulness-based exercises like meditation, yoga and Tai Chi help to lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, which are all risk factors for stroke, says yoga expert Grand Master Akshar.
The yoga expert also recommends adding food items that are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates to the diet for stroke prevention. He advises to stay away from spicy or very oily food. “Consume items which give you energy, and bodily strength. Magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach, are also linked to a lower risk of stroke, he says.
Here are four asanas for reducing stroke risk, suggested by Grand Master Akshar.
Come on your knees and rest your pelvis on your heels. Keep your heels close to each other and place your palms on your knees in Hakini Mudra. Straighten your back and look forward. For Hakini mudra, first bring the palms to face one another a few inches apart. Bring the fingertips and thumbs of both hands together, allowing them to maintain light contact. The hands can also be raised to the level of the third-eye chakra, in the center of the forehead. Breathe through the nostrils, and place the tongue against the roof of the mouth with each inhalation, and relax with each exhalation.
Begin with Tadasana or Samasthiti. For Tadasana, stand tall with big toes touching the ground and heels together. Raise your arms and draw in your abdominal muscles. Now place your right foot on your left inner thigh. After you find your balance, join your palms in Pranam Mudra at your heart chakra. Raise your pranam towards the sky. Straighten your elbows and ensure that your head is in between your arms. Repeat the same with the alternate leg.
3. Anandasana or Shavasana in Apana Mudra
Lie down on your back. Stretch out your arms. Keep your palms facing up. Inhale deeply and fill your lungs with air. Exhale and relax your whole body
For apana mudra fold the middle and ring finger of both your hands towards the thumb and bring your thumb closer to the folded fingers. Gently press folded fingers’ tip against the tip of the thumb. Keep rest of the two fingers straight, as extended as possible.
4. Padmasana in Hriday Mudra
Sit with both legs forward. Bend your right leg and place it on your left thigh. Then take your left leg and place it on your right thigh. Your legs are interlocked in the lotus position. For Hridaya Mudra (Sanjeevani Mudra), join the tip of your index finger to gently touch the base of your thumb. Touch the tips of your middle, ring and thumb fingers. Straighten your little finger. Do this with both hands and place the back of your palms on your knees. Close your eyes and direct your attention to your breath.