Guest Author - Terri Johansen
The value of Yoga for your heart is undisputable and it is an excellent activity to prevent or even reverse heart disease. Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in America. It is often caused by blocking of the coronary arteries that deliver blood to the heart, which reduces the amount of oxygen the heart receives and impairs its normal functioning. Heart disease can be affected by more than physical concerns; there is a definite connection that the mind and emotions also contribute to heart disease.
Our bodies are designed to handle acute stress, not the chronic stress of modern life. Once the survival mechanisms are activated by stress in our lives, our internal organs and nervous systems become exhausted. Dr. Dean Ornish describes the effect of chronic stress on the heart in this way: “The inability of the heart to relax causes the heart’s muscle fibers to constrict to the point that it damages itself-like clenching your fist so hard and for so long that the bones and knuckles in your hand begin to break.”
Regular yoga practice in your life can promote good health and potentially extend your life. The stress reduction experienced in a yoga class can reverse the “stress syndrome” by bringing your mind and body into a unified form of relaxation. Here are some more benefits you can experience from a regular yoga practice.
•Yoga teaches us to slow down and see things in a different light so that we may not create stress in the first place.
•Yoga helps to lower blood pressure.
•Yoga can improve your posture, which in turn affects your respiration, circulation and the health of your heart. Chronic slouching decreases circulation to vital organs.
•Yoga’s help in stress reduction can boost your immune system.
Look for a class that moves at a pace you are comfortable with, don’t jump right into a Power Yoga class. Practice relaxing yoga positions such as forward bends, reclining cobbler’s pose and legs up wall. Also calmly observing your breath will allow you to break the stress cycle thus protecting your heart health. Try using the Complete Breath which is the most familiar of yogic breathing practices, it is easy and very calming. Repeating a short mantra as you breathe can add an element that helps your mind stay focused.
Always check with a medical professional before starting yoga or any form of exercise.
Peace is the path.
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