Understanding Your Heart

This half term in our yoga classes we are focusing on the heart.  Well we all have one – so it makes sense to understand how it works and what we can do to ‘keep it in shape’!

Heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK (around 82,000 deaths each year).  One in 5 men and one in 8 women die from heart disease.

Our hearts pump blood around our body – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  When we are energetic our heart pumps faster and when we rest, or are asleep, the heart pumps slower.  The heart is not really heart shaped…

heart-2[1]    more like this    real heart

Your heart is a muscle a little larger than your fist.  On an average day it will beat 100,000 times.  Over 7,500 litres of blood is pumped by it every day – astonishing really!

Often diagrams use blue and red to show the flow of blood into and out of the heart.  Blue represents blood low in oxygen and red high in oxygen.  In reality the blood doesn’t change colour – though may look brighter when it contains more oxygen.

heart diagram

The journey of blood is quite simple really… firstly blood returns from the body ’empty’ of oxygen and is pumped by the right side of the heart to the lungs.  Having collected oxygen it then returns to the left side of the heart and is pumped around the body.


The heart nestles in between the lungs on the left side of the ribs.  By rolling onto the left side of the body the head remains (slightly) above the heart in the sideways posture, this helps to reduce dizziness when coming to seated from a lying on the back position.

Read more about the heart, heart disease and prevention of heart disease here at the NHS website.

Published by yogadeb

Yoga teacher in Stamford, UK, and online

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