Our heart is one of the most vital parts of our body; it pumps fresh blood to the entire body that ensures the supply of oxygen along with it. However, with growing health problems induced by poor lifestyle and diet, our hearts are becoming increasingly susceptible to poor functioning, including angina. It is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart and is a potential symptom of coronary artery disease. Angina is often described as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in your chest.
Common symptoms of a heart problem include chest pain or angina, feeling heaviness, pressure and burning in chest, sweating, fast and irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, feeling of fullness, and indigestion. The chances of heart diseases increase if you have hypertension, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, habit of smoking and consuming alcohol, have a family history of heart diseases, lead a sedentary life with low physical movement, or suffer from stress or anxiety. Yoga, the ancient art grouping physical, mental, and spiritual practices can beneficial for the health of the heart.
How yoga works on your heart
Once a mystical practice performed mainly by spiritual seekers, Yoga is increasingly becoming a part of our lives along with other activities such as jogging and aerobics. People with high blood pressure, heart failure, and other forms of cardiovascular disease have a good chance of benefitting from this habit since yoga is an excellent activity for people who have not exercised in years or those who are not very strong. The easy combination of stretching, gentle activity, breathing, and mindfulness of yoga may have benefits for people with cardiovascular disease.
Unlike other activities, yoga leads you into the movements gently by getting into the various postures during a session and exercises the muscles which, in turn, is good for the heart and blood vessels. These movements also help muscles become more sensitive to insulin, that plays an important role in controlling blood sugar. The deep-breathing exercises help slow the breathing rate – taking fewer and deeper breaths temporarily lowers blood pressure and enhances the parasympathetic activity plus a calming effect on the sympathetic nervous system that generates stress hormones. Together, the postures and deep breathing offer a kind of physical meditation that focuses and clears the mind and meditation and yoga have shown good effects on people with cardiovascular disease. People with heart disease often have other health concerns, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, that limit their flexibility. Yoga takes care of that too.
Proof that Yoga works for your heart
The American College of Cardiology has as recently as 2018 spoken on Lifestyle modifications for Preventing and treating Heart Failure. They have mentioned “Mind/Body interventions” as activities that focus on the overall health through the interplay among social , spiritual, mental and behavioral factors and say that Yoga should be considered as an option in patients with heart failure as they have found that it improves anginal i.e chest pain symptoms, improves cardiorespiratory fitness by 22 % and also improves the quality of life.