Yoga for a Healthy Heart

Yoga is a system through which we gain insight into the mystery and for some mastery over the inner and outer systems. What’s closer to us than our heart! Some are thrilled by the tales of yogis who can slow or stop its beating. The heart muscle is the first organ to form in the body. Its life, a poise of strength and elasticity, epitomises Yoga; it mediates energy via the balancing of tension and relaxation throughout the organism. The Heart’s four chambers work in two pairs, contracting to transmit or relaxing to receive blood. It is surrounded by connective tissue with myofascial integrity; if the mind or emotions clench, this impedes regular flow and causes stagnation.

Balancing arteries (yang) moving blood outward with veins (yin), gathering back in to centre, provides a regular pulse. This cardiac stability promotes well being and insight that we have all we need within, if only we listen to our heart. Through breathing and relaxation techniques we access voluntary and involuntary nervous systems, gaining an element of control over the chemical production in the bloodstream. The body is bio electro magnetic; tuning in to, receiving, conducting, transporting and storing currents. The heart is the body’s greatest battery, able to generate a higher electro-magnetic charge than any other ‘cell’. It produces this electrical charge within its cells and is an awareness transmitter and receiver for both physical and spiritual life.

Floating between the pressures of gravity and levity, one gains insight into balancing blood pressure and nerve tension. A healthy system self regulates; free flowing blood is cleansed, supplying more oxygen and effectively discharging waste upon venous return. Blood pressure (yin) and circulation (yang) partner to facilitate maximum vitality absorption. Bodily and emotional pain is reduced as healthy hormones, painkillers and sedatives are released throughout the system.

Awareness allows one to maximise diaphragmatic pressure, which keeps the traffic (blood) moving through the system. This dramatically reduces the amount the heart has to work, allowing it to function on a higher level. When the belly relaxes we gravitate to earth; diaphragms move, air flows to or from the lungs and blood moves into or out of the heart’s chambers. This rhythmic breathing relaxes the autonomic nervous system, reducing excess tension within the ‘fight of flight’ branch and stress hormones circulating through the heart. This soothes and retunes its pace and balances all other physiological processes.

Applying conscious breathing with movement-stillness synthesis, yoga accesses the heart’s mind and through meditation and relaxation, the mind’s heart.  Correct practice triggers the central nervous system to function optimally; electrical wires (nerves) are cleansed, glands and neural pathways tune to cosmic harmonics. Health is a balance of fullness and emptiness. Disease occurs when we try to fill our emptiness when it is inappropriate. When we learn to embrace having and not having, doing and not doing, we find true and permanent peace.

Copyright Matt Gluck 2010

About Matt Gluck:

Matt has just written his second book and DVD series, ‘How To Breathe’. For more information, please visit his website below.  Matt Gluck embodied Pranasana Yoga as a way to enjoy and share life with others of like minded heart. Matt is a British Wheel of Yoga and Life Centre qualified teacher and mentor, helping yoga teachers in training. He has been teaching Chinese martial arts, (including Tai Chi and Qi Gong) and Hatha Yoga for twenty three years.

Matt teaches in classes and privately in Hertfordshire and London and runs workshops and retreats every few months. Most of his free time is given to sharing and discovering the yogic way with friends, on a day by day and moment by moment basis.

For more information, please visit his website

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floating-drumbeat, posted on February 20, 2012

Physically, there are some cardiovascular benefits to yoga. Certainly muscle endurance. Vinyasa yoga replaced my light-weight workout. Even the yoga I do at home (and I do a lengthy practice at home). I'd taken dozens and dozens of yoga classes over the past few years, and I could definitely say that about most of my the live classes I'd attended.

What yoga isn't .... is the most effective cardio :exercise" for me. I need to diet and move the larger muscles of my body aerobically (which are the legs). But in terms of all around energizing and the reduction of ambient stresses (I live in conditions of overcrowding), regular yoga is better than straight cardio. Yoga goes both ways for me.

kalimama, posted on November 17, 2010

I really enjoyed this article and appreciated the energetic and physical parallels. I found this a very timely reminder for me.

kregweiss, posted on November 17, 2010

Hi Pete, Much of this article's point is to express the benefits of Yoga in how it facilitates healthy circulation in the body. Through regular practice, one is able to tap into the nurturing benefits of a healthy heart as well as use mind/body awareness to control the function of organs (to our advantage). Matt's perspective is such that the physical practice and mental/spiritual practice are intertwened. Kreg MYO

pete_2, posted on November 17, 2010

I can't see how this is going to help anyone! Why take the effort to write when the result is so nebulous, vapourous, Yin. Please make a point.

pete_2, posted on November 17, 2010

Havn't quite figured out what your talking about Matt! Way over my head.

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