The International Day of Yoga is observed annually on June 21 to honor the remarkable effects that this age-old practice has on one’s physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. However, the practice of yoga has emerged as a powerful tool for maintaining heart health and preventing heart-related ailments. Dr. Ravinder Singh Rao, a renowned cardiologist and passionate about yoga, has been at the forefront of promoting the integration of yoga practices to support heart health. He dedicated his life to spreading awareness about the immense benefits of this ancient practice for cardiovascular health. This year’s International Yoga Day 2023 has as its theme “Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”
Yoga has recently seen a lot of popularity growth, especially cardio yoga. Fast-paced and providing the advantages of both activities, it combines yoga with aerobic exercises. Cardio Yoga reduces stress, relieves back pain, improves sleep, enhances strength, and helps lose weight. Yoga offers numerous benefits for individuals with heart disease.
The following are some primary reasons in favor of yoga:-
Heart disease is significantly influenced by stress. Yoga employs several relaxation techniques, including mindfulness exercises, meditation, and deep breathing. These methods trigger the relaxation response in the body, which lowers blood pressure, eases cardiovascular strain and lowers stress levels.
Improved cardiovascular fitness: –
Certain forms of yoga, such as Vinyasa or dynamic Yoga, can improve blood flow and give a cardiovascular workout by raising the heart rate. These energetic styles of Yoga can improve overall cardiovascular health, which is crucial for controlling heart disease.
Lower blood pressure:-
Yoga practice may help lower high blood pressure, a substantial risk factor for heart disease. Yoga includes precise postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama) that can reduce blood pressure.
Enhanced flexibility and strength:-
Yoga poses assist in increasing strength and flexibility. Which enhances overall physical fitness. Easing the load on the heart during physical activity and enhancing general circulation, can benefit heart health.
Improving breathing and lung function:-
Yoga emphasizes slow, deep breathing methods. Pranayama exercises can strengthen the respiratory muscles, expand lung capacity, and improve the intake of oxygen. As it can enhance general respiratory performance and increase oxygen delivery to the heart, this can be especially helpful for people with heart problems.
The therapy for heart disease depends on maintaining a healthy weight. Yoga can help with weight management by increasing metabolism, burning calories, and encouraging mindful eating. Regular practice can help people reach and maintain a healthy weight, lowering their chance of developing complications from heart disease.
Relaxation and emotional well-being:-
Heart health can be significantly impacted by ongoing stress, anxiety, and depression. Yoga encourages calmness, emotional balance, and mindfulness, aiding in the management of these psychological components.
Which Asanas to Avoid if Suffering from Heart Disease
Yoga is the solution to all heart problems. We all engage in a few asanas that lower the risk of developing heart disease. Yoga has drawbacks and unfortunately cannot treat all cardiac conditions. Dr. Ravinder Singh Rao suggest that doing yoga can reduce inflammation and anxiety, improve mental health, boost immunity, enhance balance, reduce inches, and even help manage health conditions to some extent. By practicing yoga and meditation, you may reduce digestive issues like gastric problems and acidity. Here are some asanas that patients with heart diseases should avoid:
Chakrasana (wheel pose):-
In Chakrasana, the body is bent backward in a semi-circular position. Due to its similarity to a wheel, Chakrasana is also known as the wheel pose. The asana improves spinal flexibility and benefits people who have respiratory disorders, diabetes, etc. However, the heart will be under tremendous pressure in this position since it must pump blood heavily more quickly.
Halasana (plough pose):-
To do this position, you must lie on your back with your legs up, crossed over your chest, and toes touching the ground. This pose extends your spine and shoulders while reducing stress. However, because the heart will be pumping blood against gravity, the heart will have to work harder to give blood to the lower half of the body. This should be avoided by people with heart conditions.
Karnapirasana (ear closing pose):-
In the Karnapirasana position, the knees and the floor are near the person’s ears. The asana stretches the backbone, controls blood pressure, treats ear problems, and is beneficial for Asthma patients. It puts a lot of pressure on the heart, thus it is not appropriate for persons with heart disease.
Sarvangasana (shoulder stand):-
You must balance your body on your shoulders while performing this asana. The pose improves digestion, stimulates the thyroid glands, strengthens the arms and shoulders, and many more.
A person must balance their body on their head in the headstand pose known as Sirsasana. The asana should be practiced with an instructor’s supervision. Though the asana induces relaxation, relieves headaches, helps treat vertigo, etc. it should be avoided by people with heart disease. This is due to the fact that the heart must work harder to pump blood to the lower section of the body when the body is inverted.
Viparita Karani (simple inverted pose):-
You must lift your legs and hips while supporting them with your hands as you lie on your back to do this asana. Do not perform this exercise if you have a heart condition or are in danger of having a heart attack because it puts your heart under stress by forcing it to pump more blood to your lower body.
What are the main factors that put you at risk if suffering from a heart ailment?
An unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, etc can put you at risk of a heart ailment.
How can yoga help?
Yoga lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels.
What yoga can I do to prevent, control, and reverse heart disease?
Among the asanas that are healthy for the heart are the extended triangle posture, seated forward bend, half spinal twist, and cow face pose.
Can yoga unblock arteries?
By enhancing blood flow and lowering blood cholesterol levels, yoga can help clear arteries.
What are the symptoms of heart blockage?
Chest pain, shortness of breath, shoulder or arm pain, and sweating are a few symptoms of heart blockage.
Can we remove heart blockage with yoga?
Cardiac yoga can help prevent heart blockage.