World Heart Day: Yoga For A Healthy Heart

Dr Ishwar V. Basavaraddi

The zenith of life is a healthy body and an even healthier heart. Initiated by the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day intends to educate people around the globe that Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s leading cause of death claiming 17.9 million lives each year. 

Image Source: Times Of India

The day also highlights the actions that individuals can take to prevent CVD by controlling risk factors like tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, that can avoid almost 80% of premature deaths from heart diseases and stroke.

Unsurprisingly, Yoga is a perfect remedy to further this cause. Adapting Yoga into the daily lifestyle can control at least two of the above-mentioned risk factors – unhealthy diet and physical activity as it aims to make the human body healthier inside out.

In India, Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including CVDs, are estimated to account for 60% of total adult deaths wherein CVDs alone account for over a quarter (26%) of these deaths. Some of the CVD related risks factors in adults in India are outlined below: 

  •  15% of the population smoke tobacco 
  •  4.3 litres of pure alcohol consumed per person 
  •  Just over a fifth (21.1%) have hypertension which can increase risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease or stroke.
Image Source: Times Of India

Yoga practices like Yogasana, Pranayama, and Dhayana help directly to improve our health by aligning and relaxing our body at the same time having a stress-busting effect on our minds. Emotional stress can lead to a torrent of physical effects, including the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which narrow your arteries and increase blood pressure.

Yoga can also be understood as a mindfulness-based stress reduction technique that potentially has the ability to relax the body and mind.

Various Yogasanas’ like;

  • Navasana (Boat Pose)
  • Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
  • Urdhva Hastotasana (Upward Salute)
  • Bhujangasana (The Cobra Pose)
  • Vrksasana (Handstand)
  • Utthana Mandukasana (Frog Pose)
  • Virasana (Hero Pose)
  • Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow -Wheel Pose)
  • Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I); and
  • An all-encompassing meditative practice – Shavasana and Bhramari Pranayama (Yoga of Breath/Meditation)

These Asanas lead you towards a holistic health development while especially ensuring a fit heart when practiced regularly. Yoga is a way of healthy living that improves and aids every aspect of human wellness, needed, it is made a daily exercise. Without exhausting a person physically, particularly those who tire easily, Yoga provides a reprieve in the form of soothing yet strenuous exercise in all aspects.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4223195//

https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/contraindications-modifications/heart-problems

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