Singer KK's sudden demise and a string of celeb deaths in the recent past due to heart attack has brought focus on importance of cardiac health. Cardiologists and fitness experts are recommending timely screenings and a healthy lifestyle to ward off risk of cardiac death. There are many factors that are contributing to poor heart health from stress, alcohol to sedentary lifestyle. (Also read: Cardiologist on how singer KK's heart attack should have been handled better)
Sadly, our busy lifestyle hardly leaves any time for self-care and exercise to remain healthy. Whether you are working from home or from office, the lack of work-life balance could also adversely affect vascular health. Pranayama or breathing exercise with its immense benefits could be easy to include in daily routine. Long deep inhalation and exhalation has proved to be very beneficial for heart health. This can not only be done in much less time but also indoors.
"Yoga is a natural and safe solution to most health-related concerns - prevention, treatment and cure. And this holds good even when it comes to your heart health too. Yoga is an amalgamation of many techniques like pranayama, mudras and asanas that can be very helpful for you. Along with yoga, ensure that you make the required positive lifestyle changes that can support your overall health. Do not overlook your brain and heart’s health as it could result in issues like stroke, paralysis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, acute stress, and anxiety etc," says renowned Yoga guru Grand Master Akshar.
Here are some pranayama practices that you can start gradually in your everyday life. This will take care of your heart keeping you healthy.
· Inhale and fill your lungs with air
· Exhale completely
· Inhalation and exhalation should be done in a 1:1 ratio. For example, if you breathe in for 6 counts, you must take 6 counts to exhale
· Place your thumbs on the 'Tragus', the external flap outside on your ear.
· Place your index finger on your forehead; your middle finger on the Medial Canthus and ring finger on the corner of your nostril
· Inhale and fill your lungs with air
· As you exhale, slowly make a buzzing sound like that of a bee, i.e., “mmmmmmm….”
· Keep your mouth closed the entire time and feel the vibration of the sound disseminate throughout your body
· Fill your lungs with air as you inhale
· Do not disturb your stomach area
· Visualize 3 circles in front of your face
· Use your right hand to draw imaginary circles close to your nose
· Imagine the air flowing into your nose like a spring
· With one breath, draw 3 clockwise circles in front of your nose and then exhale
· Start with a few circles and gradually increase up to 100 as you become an expert in this technique
Anulom Vilom (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
· Gently close your right nostril with your thumb, inhale into your left nostril and close it, letting the breath out through the right nostril.
· Then inhale through your right, closing it to exhale only through your left.
· This makes one cycle. Repeat for 10 minutes
· Inhale normally and focus on exhaling with a short, rhythmic and forceful breath
· You can use your stomach to forcefully expel all the air from the diaphragm and lungs by compressing it
· Inhalation should happen automatically while you decompress your stomach
• Sit in any comfortable pose (such as Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana)
• Straighten your back and close your eyes
• Place your palms on your knees facing up (in Prapthi Mudra)
• Inhale deeply and fill your lungs with air
• While exhaling, form a circle with your lips and say "Oooooooommm" for as long as you can
• Feel the vibration of the sound disseminate throughout your body
Food and Diet
"Some of the simple ways to keep your Nadis or channels in the body healthy is to eat fresh home cooked food. Start avoiding unnecessary processed items you can boost your immunity and improve your heart health. When you have a healthy and strong immunity you can easily ward off any infection or other illnesses and keep yourself protected," concludes Grand Master Akshar.