In our fast-paced life, we are continuously working under stress and are looking for ways to lead a healthy life. Stress ultimately results in various health disorders that are a manifestation of underlying imbalance in the mind-body domain. The yogic way of life offers a solution to elevate the health of body, mind, and soul. Yoga may be used as a supportive treatment option for many diseases – diabetes, obesity and psychiatric illnesses – as much as it offers immense benefits to alleviate heart diseases.
A healthy heart can help your body to function properly, and can pump blood to the rest of the body while preventing heart attacks, strokes, and certain diseases of the heart.
Heart of the Matter
Research establishes that a person performing yoga and meditation at least three times a week shows a reduction in blood pressure, pulse and overall risk of heart disease.
Meditation is well-known for its ability to provide tranquillity to the mind, and decrease the level of stress. Meditation also reduces emotions such as anxiety, hostility and depression, which are harmful to the heart. The practice of daily meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure and also the amount of fatty deposits in the arteries.
Yoga has an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases that includes recurrence of heart attacks, hypertension and coronary heart diseases. Yoga influences the hypothalamus directly – the area of the brain that controls endocrine activity – and helps prevent heart attacks. Here are some factors you would want to think about when it comes to yoga for heart health, and poses that help improve your heart.
- A complete yoga programme involves exercises [asanas], breath control [pranayama], sleep control [yoga nidra] and mind control [meditation].
- These are the tenets for cardiac health, also probably the reason why cardiologists universally recommend yoga to their patients.
- Yoga enhances heart health, lowers blood pressure, reduces chronic stress, boosts the immune system and enhances cognitive ability.
Heart disease is a problem of modern times. It is psychosomatic in nature. Improper lifestyle, faulty diet and negative thinking play important roles in triggering heart disease. Our thoughts, feelings and emotions affect our body and mind. Negative emotions spark chemical processes throughout the body. Any irritation in the lining of arterial walls – which includes high levels of fat in the blood, smoking and high blood pressure – can trigger heart diseases.
The heart is the strongest muscle in the body. It can be made healthier by means of proper yogic exercises. It is the contraction and relaxation of the heart that causes circulation of blood to all parts of the body.
Yogic exercises give a good massage to the hardworking heart. Asanas involve very little muscular activity. In such a condition, the heart has a tendency to slow down and the heart beats in a controlled manner. When the muscular activity is less, there is minimum production of carbon dioxide. This reduces the levels of stress to the heart.
Asanas improve cardiovascular efficiency even in a diseased person. Asanas are an essential component of yoga that brings steadiness and stability to the body.
Yoga poses for heart
The concept of yoga for heart disease has been in practice for long. Here are a few yoga techniques that can be beneficial to the heart.
Kapalabhati breathing is a pranayama technique. Kapalabhati requires you to breathe in rapid succession while consciously controlling the movements of the diaphragm [a membrane separating the abdomen from the chest]. This exercises the entire respiratory system forcing higher oxygen absorption in a short time. This ensures richer blood reaches cardiovascular muscles regardless of its quantity.
Tadasana, a completely balanced standing posture is the foundation for all asanas which start from standing. Touch your heels and big toes to each other with weight balanced evenly on metatarsals [bones in foot] and toes spread. Stiffen and pull-up calf muscles, kneecaps, thighs and hips. Take stomach in; expand chest, neck and spine. Release fingers, drop hands straight and keep them stiff.
Stand upright with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder. With both arms lifted, bend towards right, hold right ankle with right hand without twisting the body. Hold it there for 30 seconds. The triangle is the shape formed by your trunk now.
Vrukshasana: Proceed from tadasana to rest your left foot on the root of right thigh and lift hands up straight till they touch palm to palm. Hold the position till 20 seconds.
Yoga improves heart health not just in healthy individuals but also those already diagnosed with heart disease. It is therefore a reliable avenue for holistic health.
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