International Yoga Day 2022: We discuss how and which yoga asanas can help improve our heart health.

International Yoga Day 2022: Ease Your Arteries With Yoga

International Yoga Day 2022: Surya namaskar improves heart health

The word Yoga comes from the root word ‘Yuj' meaning ‘to join' or ‘to unite' and to concentrate one's attention. It is essentially a spiritual discipline that focuses on bringing harmony between the mind and the body and is considered an art and science of healthy living. 

Its benefits for the heart are extremely well-documented. This article specifically examines simple yoga postures and practices of specific benefit to the heart. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart for delivery to every part of your body. They look like tubes with walls made of a tough outer layer, a middle layer of muscle, and a smooth inner wall that helps blood flow easily. The muscle layer expands and contracts to help regulate blood flow. Stress, which increases stress hormone levels in the body adversely affects the arteries and hardens them. Regular practice of Yoga not only reverses the harmful effects but also promotes strength, endurance, flexibility, and well-being, which includes a  positive impact on heart health.

1. Pranayam like 'Anulom Vilom' for 30 minutes daily, helps reduce adverse effects of stress hormones on the arteries and reduce the risk of damage to the artery wall and thus the development of blockages.

2. Surya Namaskar is a natural way of helping reduce high blood pressure. The Surya Namaskar benefits the heart muscles and corrects irregular heartbeats. The practice also keeps sugar levels in control thus keeping the heart problems at bay.

3. Mind Sound Resonance Technique (MSRT), and Deep Relaxation Technique (DRT) are extremely useful. It is believed that MSRT may have a potential role in reducing state anxiety and enhancing psychomotor performance 

4. Tiger breathing, a Yogic pose is supposed to have excellent heart health benefits.

5. Sukshma Vayama (loosening exercises of joints): Sukshma Vyayama is a specific ancient technique of yogic postures and dynamic movements and helps improve joint mobility and flexibility of the body.

Speaking ahead of World Yoga Day, Dr. Ramakanta Panda, the world's leading cardiac surgeon and head of Mumbai's Asian Heart Institute said, “Studies have shown yoga to modulate systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.” 

"Yoga also helps in better control of blood lipid and that way helps in preventing heart disease," added senior cardiologist Dr. Santosh Kumar Dora.

"Pranayama or conscious breathing quickly lowers blood pressure and also helps in improving respiratory health," shared senior interventional cardiologist Dr. Tilak Suvarna. 

By and large, Yoga is a mind-body practice that involves a combination of muscular activity along with the internally directed mindful focus on awareness of the self, breath, and energy thus reducing stress hormone levels and increasing a feel-good hormone called endorphins.

(CONTENT BY: Pooja Kothekar Mhatre)

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