Open Your Heart to Yoga – Yoga for Heart Diseases

In Medical terminology, Coronary Heart/arterial Disease, CAD, is defined as a condition when accumulation of plaques (semi solid emulsion of LDP and calcium) in the arteries constricts them and as a result oxygen supply to the heart gets restricted and heart muscles become weak. With this restricted passage for oxygen rich blood, heart needs to pump more, further straining itself.

Before we discuss further how yoga can help to cure for heart disease, and what is the yoga poses for heart health, let us examine the causes and symptoms of the disease and how yoga does wonder prevent disease and gives better health.

Causes and Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
The main culprit is the atherosclerosis, a medical condition when plaque gets accumulated inside coronary arteries and results in their hardening. The other contributors are Hypertension, smoking, and high cholesterol (LDL) and CAD develops over a long time. Since it is a long process, people miss the symptoms till they are around 50 years of age. Chest pain (angina), short breaths characterize CAD. Unfortunately for some people, heart attack could be the first sign of CAD.

Who Are Affected By CAD?
As the researches show, Men and women are equally prone to be affected by CAD. But usually the danger sign for men is after age 45 and for women after 55 years of age (post menopause). Statistics show 50% of men and 63% of women of over 50 years, die from heart attack due to CAD.

Those who have a family history are at risk even at young age.

Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors
Smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, bad cholesterol above 240 mg/dL (LDL) are the risk factors. Heredity is also a major risk.

How Does Yoga Help In Combating This Disease?
A study, published in Journal of The Association of Physicians of India (JAPI), establishes that yoga has tremendous benefits in curing heart disease. Study was on angiographic ally proven CAD patients, of whom 71 formed the study group and 42 the control group. And the results proved that the serum total cholesterol levels had reduced by 23.3%, disease had regressed in 43.7% and progression was arrested in another 46.5% of the patients. The anxiety levels of patients dropped significantly and serum cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels were reduced to great extents with the help of Controlled yoga combining calming and stimulating measures.

Yoga Poses for Heart Health
Yoga for heart disease has been popular since ages. Of late, it is getting better coinage following concerted studies which have shown how symptoms of coronary artery disease have been reduced.

Kapalabhati Breathing
Kapalabhati breathing, popularly known as pranayama technique. Kapalabhati involves breathing along with controlling the movements of the diaphragm (a membrane separating abdomen from chest) consciously. The breathe control is through breathing in rapid succession. This results in holding air in the lungs for few seconds’ thereby increasing oxygen absorption in the lungs in a short time. Each and every tissue in the entire respiratory system gets benefited. This ensures richer blood to reach cardiovascular muscles regardless of its quantity, thus removing the major complaint.

Yoga Mountain Pose
Tadasana, an indispensable part of all standing yoga postures is performed in standing position. Touch your heels and big toes to each other. Ensure to balance the weight evenly on metatarsals (bones in foot) and toes spread. Stiffen and pull-up calf muscles, knee caps, thighs and hips. Take stomach in; expand chest, neck and spine. Release fingers, drop hands straight and keep them stiff.

Yoga Asanas to cure Heart Disease
There are types of poses you can practice offered by yoga for heart disease cure as follows:

Warrior Pose
Begin from the mountain pose and jump change to fully stretched legs and arms (horizontal) sideways. Rotate outwards right foot by 900 and left foot by 700. Bend the right knee till thigh becomes parallel to ground keeping the plane of the body unaltered. Breathe in a few times and return to tadasana and repeat this for the next half of the body.

Triangle Pose
Stand straight and keep your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder. Lift both arms and bend towards right, hold right ankle with right hand without twisting the body. Hold it there for 30 seconds. The triangle is the shape formed by your trunk now.

Tree Pose
Vrukshasana. Proceed from tadasana to rest your left foot on the root of right thigh and lift hands up straight till they touch palm to palm. Hold the position till 20 seconds.

Lotus Pose Yoga
Improvement over the classic cross-legged squatting. Make sure to rest both your feet on the opposite thighs with soles facing up. You may want to pull your feet initially. It is a classic position for pranayama with chinmudra.

Can Yoga Cure CAD?
Studies similar to Journal of The Association of Physicians of India (JAPI) have shown tremendous benefits in CAD patients and the symptoms and conditions have improved contrary to the poor performance of modern medicine. Just yet, this doesn’t suggest that yoga cures CAD, however.

Yoga and Heart Attacks
Dr. Satish Sivasankaran recently conducted a study on the effects of yoga in preventing coronary artery disease. The initial study on the ways to get rid of chronic stresses such as CAD, with the help of yoga, indicated improvements in the conditions of epithelial cells that line our arteries from inside. Dr. Satish has studied 33 persons (10 had cardiovascular diseases) of average 55 years. Parameters like body mass, heart rates, blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar levels were checked including epithelial linings before and after the study. The study lasted for 6 weeks with 3 sessions of 90 minutes each in every week. Sessions were on yoga and meditation. Significant improvements, across the group, for example reductions in hypertension, body mass and pulse rate were reported by Dr. Satish. Specifically those with previous CAD history also showed improvements in the functioning of endothelial cells.

It may be too early, but efforts on yoga for heart disease are taking researchers in the right direction. The fact that the symptoms of coronary artery disease have reacted positively should motivate them further.

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