The heart is one of the most important organs in the human body. The heart pumps the blood, which carries all the vital materials which help our bodies function and removes the waste products that we do not need.
For example, the brain requires oxygen and glucose, which, if not received continuously, will cause it to lose consciousness. Muscles need oxygen, glucose and amino acids, the proper ratio of sodium, calcium and potassium salts to contract normally. Glands need sufficient supplies of raw materials from which to manufacture specific secretions. If the heart ever ceases to pump blood, the body begins to shut down and after a very short period of time will die.
Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices. Yoga practice is the best way to keep the heart healthy. Asana prepares the entire physical functioning of the body, while pranayama improves the physiology of the body.
Standing poses strengthen the cardiac reserve. Forward bends soothes the nerves and brings down the heart rate. Inverted pose improves the contractility. Back bending poses lengthen the cardiac muscle and the septum. This improves the contraction of heart and improves the quality to pump blood in and out. Twisting pose stretches the wall of the heart. The diaphragm is squeezed and the endurance of the heart is increased.
Pranayama, on the other hand, constantly changes the shape of the heart, thereby preventing blockage in the heart. Prana is the vital energy distributed by the nervous channel (Nadis). Pranayama improves the rhythm of the heart. One who practise pranayama consistently can reduce or increase the heart rate at will. Hence, one gains control over the involuntary mechanism of the body.
Yoga can be done by any one at any age at any health problems. The body system is taken care of, with all the internal organs functioning together to improve the cardiovascular efficiency. Any practitioner can benefit from the practice – whether as preventive, improvement or reverting to normal condition.
A daily Yoga practice leads to a healthy lifestyle. It changes the overall character of a practitioner, controls high blood pressure and diabetes. The effect is more significant with a proper diet. Pranayama gives proper relaxation to reduce and manage stress. A conscious breathing rhythm regulates the heart beat.