Circulation is improved by means of "prana pumps", according to esteemed yoga therapist Gary Kraftsow. Prana is your life force and through the use of pranayama -- yogic breathing techniques -- while holding a yoga pose, you can increase circulation through your spine, glands and organs. For your purposes here, instead of learning advanced or difficult breathing techniques, simply breathe fully and deeply while in a pose to improve your circulation.
Legs Up The Wall Pose
This inverted pose uses gravity to stimulate blood circulation. Start in a seated position on the floor next to a wall with your legs running parallel to the wall. All in one motion, swivel your body so that your legs are up the wall and your upper body is relaxed on the floor. Stay in this pose for up to 15 minutes and exit by gently rolling to one side.
Camel pose increases blood circulation by opening your chest and shoulders and stretching your neck. Start by standing on your knees and press your palms into your buttocks. Move your pelvis forward and lean your head back. Spend a few seconds to get used to the intense stretch in your upper thighs. When you're ready, reach your right hand back and cup the heel of your right foot. Do the same on the left side. Press the pelvis forward and round the entire spine. Relax the head back and hold the pose for 30 seconds. Carefully exit, rest and repeat twice.
This pose, often referred to as full backbend or Wheel pose, will open up the front of your body and promote healthy blood circulation. Lie on your back and bend your knees. Plant your feet, hip-width apart, close to your buttocks. Bend your elbows and place your hands on the floor beside your ears with your fingers pointing toward your shoulders. Lift your buttocks off the floor. Press into the floor with your hands and raise your head and shoulders off the floor. Take a moment to rest the crown of your head on the floor. When you're ready, press down into the floor with your hands and straighten your arms as you lift your head off the floor. For beginners, using a yoga ball will make getting into this pose much easier. Hold for up to 10 seconds, rest and repeat twice.
Shoulderstand allows blood to flow without strain. While lying on your back, bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor. Lift your buttocks off the floor and place your hands on the small of your back for support. Keep your upper arms and elbows on the floor and lift your legs straight up. Bring your chest toward your chin and breathe normally in this pose for up to one minute.
- Yoga for Wellness; Gary Kraftsow
- Yoga Journal: Renewable Energy
- Yoga Wisdom and Practice; B.K.S. Iyengar
- Health Guidance: Ways to Improve Blood Circulation
- Yoga Journal: Supported Shoulderstand
- Yoga, The Path to Holistic Health; B.K.S. Iyengar