Heart and humanity go hand in hand. Heart healing and wholeness are disturbed when life is strained and stressed with - pride, anger, lust, envy, gluttony, avarice, and sloth. These personality traits can bring strain to the heart. The speed of life can bring strain to the heart. Most importantly, interpersonal relationships, expectations of society not being met, frustration, and disappointments can cause a lot of trouble to the heart. What contributes to this strain on the heart are food, lethargy, lack of sleep and poor breathing.

In Sanskrit, ‘RIKT’, meaning empty space. ‘RIKT’ is the regulatory essence of this universe and in this empty space births the regulatory essence of this Universe. So, ‘RIKT’ – ‘RID’, out of which is then born ‘Rhythm’.

‘Rhythm’ and ‘hriday’ complement each other. ‘Rhythm’ and ‘hriday’ depend on the flow and synchronicity. ‘Rhythm’ and ‘hriday’ together give rise to human consciousness. This indirectly increases compassion, sympathy, and empathy, all of which are positive creative emotions. Such emotions alter the biochemistry and support the endocrine system, our glandular functions and stimulate our hormones. The disturbing factors for the heart could be time, matter, space, light, motion, mass, causation and effect. While the correcting factors for restoration could be breathing correctly. However, most people don’t breathe correctly.

How to breathe correctly

Sit comfortably with your back straight on a mat or a chair. Make sure your back is relaxed and not stiff or constricted. Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air. Breathe out through your nose. Fill in your alveoli like you fill the air in the balloon, with every breath going in and out. Place one hand on your belly. As you breathe in, feel your diaphragm moving up and down like the waves of the ocean. Initially, it will move only four centimetres to five centimetres. We have to increase the capacity to 11-12 cm.

The more the diaphragm moves, the more your lungs will be stimulated, which in turn will stimulate the respiratory tract. With deep breathing, sinuses and adenoids will flush out toxins, germs, and bacteria. The body temperature will be regulated, thus improving your immunity.

Importance of breath

Prana means the force of life from the source of life. Regulating your breath is an art as well as a science. The scientific understanding of breath management is connected with the philosophy of the breath and movement of mind and thoughts. Breath is important for our biological, physiological, psychological, and spiritual well-being. When I say this, it should not be understood as the body becoming immortal. It means that the master of breath becomes the master of manifestations, longevity, infinity, and eternity. Each breath that goes inside brings creativity and vitality. It brings in resolutions, solutions, and problems dissolve. When you breathe out, you are weeding out all your emotional trauma, negative feelings, resentment, hate, and anxiety.

Pranayama is today recognised by scientists as a means of invigorating, enhancing, and accelerating the process in the body. With breath, the involuntary process of the body, brain, and mind can be mastered.

Effects of different Pranayama on the heart

Studies on pranayama practice when combined with asanas have many benefits on the functioning of the heart.

Bhramari: Humming bee breathing practice has a tranquillising effect on the brain and the heart. It reduces anxiety and stress.

Ujjayi: The victory breath helps in reducing blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) if practised regularly.

Nadi-shodhana: Alternate nostril breathing is one of the best practices for people with heart problems. Apart from improving systolic and diastolic blood pressure, the breath-holding time, expiratory flow and pulse rate also improve.

For a healthy adult, kapalbhati, bhastrika and kumbhaka pranayama conditions the heart rate.

According to Ayurveda, prana is the essential life force energy that enters the body through our sensible dietary choices, sensory stimulation, and relaxation before flowing throughout the entire body and energizing our entire being. To boost vigour, vitality, passion, and immunity, we need high Ojas - Ojas is the energy of pitta that digests our foods and experiences. The ojas resides in the heart and is circulated throughout the body by the heart to body and mind. Hence, correct breathing, eating nutritional food, exercising, connecting with nature, and yoga can heal you - physically, mentally, and emotionally. All these can keep your heart healthy.

Flow initialized…Rhythm specialized…Heart harmonized…Life Mickeymized!!!

(Please note all the pranayamas have to be performed under expert guidance)

(Mickey Mehta is a global leading holistic health guru and life coach; website: www.drmickeymehta.com)

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