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Yoga Therapy And Heart Diseases

Anguish of chest pain known as “Angina Pectoris” indicates cardiac strain in the activities of daily life. Though the causes and effects of heart strain are many and complex but involvement of nervous system through mental and emotional processes influencing cardiac functions, can not be denied. The metabolic, digestive and reproductive systems frequently place excessively heavy demand upon the heart.

Our emotional states directly influence the behavior of the heart and heart disease is often as much an emotional disorder as a physical disease. anxious, over tense mind always gripped by worries and problems of an unruly mind constantly bursting into habitual states of anger, passion or sorrow causes wild, uncontrolled activation of the sympathetic nervous system and floods the circulation with the stress hormones, “adrenaline” “nor-adrenaline.” The heart muscles are strained and the heart beat accelerated forcing it to beat beyond its resting capacity.

Similarly, the stress of inter-personal relationship, encompassing the expression of the whole range of human emotions, instincts and desires which must be experienced as we evolve, place constant demands upon the heart and endocrine glands resulting into uncontrolled and unmanageable hormonal secretions making the heart to labor excessively. Sympathetic activation is also responsible for sending the small arteries into a state of spasm and contraction. It is now widely accepted that in many cases of heart attack, also caused by spasm of the coronary arteries due to the same over reaction of the sympathetic nervous system. The same also applies to angina, a chronic ongoing form of partial coronary occlusion where spasm of the coronary arteries is an important factor.

Medical science has developed many powerful drugs to control the systems and effect of heart failure and angina pectoris. These drugs are very effective and life saving in acute situation of heart attacks. But they can never be a total solution to the problem as they do not get to fundamental cause of heart disease.

The science of yoga evolved by our ancient sages gives us some in depth clue regarding most of common human diseases, which are by-products of various imbalances in our physical, mental, and bodies.

Physical imbalances:-

  1. Biological agents which include viruses, bacteria, infections, parasites & living organism.
  2. Climatic & environmental
  3. Traumas
  4. Addiction, medication & its abuse.
  5. Nutritional imbalance
  6. Genetic defects
  7. Aging process

Mental imbalance:-

  1. Unresolved conflicts
  2. Emotional reactions
  3. Ego related problems
  4. Psychosomatic, Psycho-sexual problems
  5. Psychiatric disorders

Pranic Imbalance:-

  1. Disturbance of entire pranic system
  2. Imbalance of Ida and Pingla flow
  3. Blocks in pranic flow in particular organs or part of body.

Thus the combinations of above imbalances create not only anxiety, stress and various other diseases. The medical science can aptly help us as regards the physical causes. But it is seen that medical sciences fail miserably as regards mental and pranic causes of various types of diseases infecting the human race. Here comes the help from Yogic kriyas and practices which helps us restructuring the mental and pranic balance.

As we are discussing heart diseases and angina problems the integrated approach would be most beneficial to patients in combination with drugs in acute cases. So to be concise, the management of heart diseases would have to be achieved, through practices of Asanas, Pranayam and relaxation techniques like yog nidra and meditation.

1. Asanas :

Pawanmuktasana, a series of low activity and joint relaxing asanas, which need to be practiced daily. Vajrasana, Supta-Vajrasana, Sarpasana, Makarasana and Shavasana etc.

2. Pranayama:

Respiration is directly related to heart, slow respiration occurs with a slow beating heart, and a slow beating heart is conductive to long life. It is seen that heart of a rabbit beats about 150 times per minutes and a human heart beats 72 times per minutes, and life span of rabbit is much less than a human being. Life span is therefore directly related to the rate of respiration. Ancient yogic texts also show that functioning of mind is also directly effected by rate of respiration and vice-versa. Yet pranayam would tackle pranic imbalance.

The beginners are to do only simple deep breathing for 5 to 10 minutes for 15 days. Then switch over to Nadi Sodhan pranayam but without any retention or kumbhaka. To start with only 7 rounds of nadi sodhan should be practiced daily for 15 days then increase one round daily up to 15 rounds.
Simple Ujjyayee pranayam of 15 rounds is recommended as it is very help-full in activating energy channels in upper respiratory system. Bhramari pranayam of at least three rounds should also be done.

A short practice of yog nidra at least once a day is recommended for good results. Prolonged practice of yoga nidra would develop will-power which be highly beneficial.

2 to 5 minutes of ‘Kayasthairam’ should be practiced daily after pranayam followed by 5 to 10 minutes of Dharna Practice Primary Meditation.

The above programme should be continued for at least 2 months with light diet. During the programme “Karmayoga” is highly recommeded for perfect results.

Hari om tat sat.

  • When desires multiply right conduct is destroyed.
  • It is not what you eat, what you digest, gives you energy.
  • Comfort and Conveniences weaken us, we must not depend on them.