Times of Oman
Nov 27, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 10:47 AM GMT
Yoga and hypertension
September 26, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Cardiac diseases are the largest killers in affluent sections of the world today. Every year, many people suffer from cardiac related problems and the main causes are atherosclerosis and hypertension.

Every part of the body is dependent on the heart which beats untiringly throughout your life. Hypertension can be a result of emotional reasons or stress in any other organ or part of body which requires healing. Heart function is intimately related to our emotional metabolism. Our emotional state directly influences the behaviour of heart and heart disease is often as much an emotional disorder as it is a physiological disease.

Try to notice your breathing pattern, when you are ungoing some tension, are irritated or upset, or are very happy. Remain alert to such a state to find how it plays out in relation to your thought process; as your emotions are linked to your thoughts which, in turn, affect your breathing pattern and lead to stress. For example, there is a corresponding breathing pattern when you are tense (short and shallow), happy (deep and rhythmic), irritated (short and arrhythmic) or anxious.

Everyone suffers stress in routine life but the way you react to it matters a lot. The way we react states our emotional response to each situation, since our heart's function is directly related to emotional metabolism.

Some amount of tension is necessary as all of us deal with it or fight against it,  but once it is over, you should know to let go and relax and live in the present. Since many of us carry these things at the back of our mind and consequently, find that our sleep is also disturbed, it leads to continuous activation of stress hormones.

For example, an anxious and excessively tense mind is always gripped by worries and problems. One is constantly bursting into anger, or nail biting  as a habit. The facial muscles become tense, we raise our eye brows, causing the sympathetic  nervous system to be activated and flood the circulation with stress hormones.

If we are ignorant about the symptoms associated with it, we might land in trouble after a few months and it can further lead to hypertension. When you are tense for long hours or even days at a stretch, the heart is strained and its beat is accelerated. The heart beats beyond its capacities. This is responsible for sending the small arteries into tight spasms or a state of permanent contraction. The heart has to pump against the back pressure of the blood in the arterial tree and as result, we get high blood pressure. It also leads to other problems such as kidney and heart failure.

Our emotional state directly influences the behaviour of the heart and heart disease is often an emotional disorder than a physical disease.
BP can be kept in control through proper diet and other yogic relaxation exercises.

Those asanas in which your head and heart remains in the same plane are preferable. For example, Shashankasana and a few asanas involving stretching in standing posture and while lying down.

Shashank asana

Sit in Vajrasana and raise your arms up and gently bend forward and place your forehead on the floor and your arms stretched forward.

Make sure your head doesn't hang down and your buttocks remain seated on the heel. You can separate your knees to allow your abdomen muscles to fall in between your legs and relax.

Rabbit pose helps in relaxing the adrenal gland and thus reduces the stress hormones. This posture helps you to withdraw your mind from the outside world. If you are not able to sit in Vajrasana for long, then use the cushion as a prop under your forehead as well as under your feet, and try to keep your head and heart at the same level.

Parvata Asana
Stand with your legs close to each other and gently raise both your arms upward and interlock your arms and stretch them upwards and raise your body on your toes. Hold the posture for 10 to 20 counts with normal breathing. Repeat

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