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Of all the ailments we cover in yoga instructor training, cardiovascular disease and cancer are two that most people know a little about. In many families, among those two ailments claimed the lives of family members. You can't ignore the importance of preventative maintenance, when it comes down to your family medical history.
Yoga is definitely an ancient healing art according to seven major chakras that correspond with assorted parts of the human body. The fourth chakra, also known as the heart chakra, includes the center, upper back and upper chest. The center chakra, it represents love and compassion, serving as the "center" or point of integration for our physical and emotional experiences.
Even medical science now recognizes a condition called stress cardiomyopathy, or "broken heart syndrome," that stems from sudden, extreme emotional trauma. Other ailments resulting from a blocked heart chakra include feelings of loneliness or the inability to forgive and empathize with others. Physical manifestations include breathing-related disorders, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Back bending asanas literally "open the center," both physically and emotionally. While practitioners teach that self-acceptance and compassion are universal healers, additionally they recommend asanas to keep the heart healthy. For maximum benefit, any Yoga work out should include pranayama and meditation along with physical exercise.
Asanas for a Healthy Heart
� Lying stretches that arch the rear over a support, like a folded blanket
� Arm and shoulder stretches, such as Child's Pose or Upward Facing Dog
� Backbends that lower the heart and encourage deep breathing, such as Cobra Pose
� Forward bends, such as Big-Toe Bend
� Poses that release pent-up emotions, for example Warrior, Camel or Pigeon Pose
� Seated twists that stretch the spine and eliminate the body of toxins and tension
In 2004, Yale University School of Medicine released data showing that Yoga lowers pulse rate, blood pressure, and risk of heart disease. Other experts agree. According to authorities at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine at Ohio State University, these benefits may result largely in the meditative element of Yoga.
More recently, however, "Harvard Health Publications" cited evidence that the actual routine of getting in and out of asanas gently exercises your body's muscles. Anything, they are saying, that benefits the muscles will also improve the purpose of the heart and blood vessels and helps to manage insulin too. Besides, yogic breathing is deeper and slower than normal breathing rates. Consequently, it temporarily lowers blood pressure and halts the discharge of stress hormones. While more scientific studies are needed, the use of asanas for heart health looks promising.
Side notes for Yoga Teachers
If you didn't cover this inside your yoga teacher training, be ready for students who have heart conditions arrive at your classes. Most of the precautions are similar to high blood pressure and stroke. Therefore, make certain your yoga student's get their physicians approval to begin taking classes. As a Yoga teacher, you have the right to insist upon a doctor's note. Be sure you add a warning to your waiver form.
Some of our students ignore medical health advice, but if you decided to become a yoga instructor you want to gently point students with pre-exising health conditions in the right direction. As Paul has often mentioned: "We safely guide our students with yoga instruction, but if they don't wish to listen, show them the door." That could sound harsh, but who is to blame, if a person with a pre-existing medical condition is hurt within our class? Are you finding that the law is unclear? You may think people should be responsible for their, but the law is never clear. Needless to say, heart patients ought to be in Restorative classes and stay out of the hot Yoga classes.