Yoga & Your HeartHeart diseases are common killers in most developed countries. Can Yoga help prevent heart attacks and keep heart diseases at bay? Yeah! Yoga can do it. If you think Yoga is just a "new-found ability to touch your toes", you're mistaken! The practice of Yoga has a substantial foundation in science and provides all-round benefits to a human being.
Owing to its many positive effects - direct and indirect - on the cardiovascular system, Yoga can play a pivotal role in heart care. Yoga, as defined by Pitanjali, is "restraining extrovert activities of the mind so the self emerges in its own form". It drives a person to self-realization, to awaken latent powers of the body through various asanas (yogic postures) and the mind through meditation and pranayama (breath control). All this results in relaxation of the body and the mind.
Treating the Heart Through the MindYoga treats a person not merely as a mass of flesh and blood, but as a being with a soul. Doctors have come to recognize that this kind of treatment can give patients greater solace and better recovery.
As soon as a person takes to Yoga, his/her life pattern, personality and diet changes. S/he tends to become a puritan and tries to keep away from smoking, drinking and consuming non-vegeterian food. Dr. S Thanikachalam, a specialist in heart diseases, feels that yoga is "a combination of psychoanalysis, psychiatry and physiotherapy", and that it directly affects the hypothalamus - area of the brain controlling endocrine activity - in preventing cardiac attacks. This helps generate positive spontaneous energy, which helps the person correct himself, and think clearly.
Yoga is at the core of alternative systems that are widely employed to prevent and treat various diseases of the heart. The physical activity in Yoga enhances cardiac efficiency precipitously soon after a person starts practising Yoga. In fact, Yoga is as effective in increasing muscle efficiency as any dynamic exercise like running or swimming.
Yoga & Cardiovascular CareYoga has an important role in both the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases as well as recurrence of heart attacks, hypertension and coronary heart diseases. As opposed to a therapeutic intervention, such as an angioplasty or bypass surgery, which cannot stop the disease from cropping up again - medical practitioners agree - Yoga can definitely help in hindering the progress of heart diseases.
According to Dr. HS Wasir, mental relaxation through meditation and Yoga contribute heavily to the prevention of ahterosclerosis (narrowing of coronary arteries and brain blood vessels). Aasanas or Yogic postures have a positive catalytic effect that helps control not only heart diseases, but many others, such as diabetes, obesity, and psychiatric illnesses.