World Heart Day 2021: Stress is one of the primary causes behind heart problems. Being constantly under stress releases hormones which could change the way our blood clots that may increase the chances of a heart attack, as per health experts. “Fear, anxiety, sadness, stress, there are a lot of negative emotions people experience in today’s lifestyle, especially in Covid era which could make you prone to infections and heart ailments,” says Dr Prasan Prabhakar, Cardiologist at Laxmi Hospital in Kochi and volunteer with Dhyan Foundation.
Dr Prabhakar in a telephonic conversation with HT Digital, says that for heart health one needs a holistic approach and Sanatan Kriya which is a part of Ashtanga Yoga could help in bringing the body in a state of balance. “You radiate health, beauty and glow and your heart rate, breath rate and sympathetic drive comes down because of which there is less vulnerability for you to have heart attack,” says the renowned cardiologist.
Ujjayi Pranayam, a part of Sanatan Kriya, can prevent one from heart diseases as well as from infections caused by virus and bacteria, says Dr Prabhakar. Giving an example of a newborn baby, he says that an infant normally breathes from abdomen. “You will notice their abdomen going up and down and not feel much movement at the chest. A child is always closer to divine, to nature. As we grow, humans get conscious about their tummy and waist and they tuck the tummy in and start breathing sub-optimally through chest,” he says.
Dr Prabhakar also goes on to explain the science behind Ujjayi Pranayam and how it helps clear the residual air from the lungs.
“There is a muscle called diaphragm which is a dome shaped muscle which is located between the chest and the abdomen. Whenever you breathe, diaphragm has to move down and the abdomen moves out. Most of the people if you ask them to breathe in, they will put the tummy inside and take a deep breath. What happens is the diaphragm comes down and more of oxygen is sucked inside the chest, inside the lungs. As you breathe out abdomen is pushed inside and the diaphragm moves out. As human beings grow, they suppress abdominal movement and start using their chest to breathe,” he says.
“Now there is something called residual air. This is the amount of air which is there in lungs even after maximum respiration. Some amount of residual air remains locked in the lungs,” he explains.
Dr Prabhakar says that residual air starts increasing in the lungs when we do suboptimal breathing. “If you are not doing Ujjayi breathing, you are not going to expel all the air out. Stagnancy is the cause of any disease. If Ganga stops flowing, it will stat getting contaminated with algae, moss, bacteria etc. Same occurs inside your lungs also. When air stagnates and you don’t breathe in the right way you are more prone to developing viral and bacterial infections which is common. When you are doing Ujjayi breathing, you are expelling more and more air out which helps in constant flow in the body,” says the cardiologist.
So, if you want to keep your heart healthy and prevent infections, Ujjayi breathing can help you.