During the course of a week, Yoga teachers may work with students who have a variety of physical ailments. Among those ailments are the many forms of heart disease and heart conditions. There are many differences, and many causes, of heart problems.
Some heart problems are caused by risk factors, such as: Lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, obesity, and a combination of these conditions. At the same time, high stress levels and genetics can also play a role in poor heart health.
While physical forms of Yoga can change the lack of physical exercise factor, how can it be a remedy for all of the other factors mentioned? When looking into the personal histories of dedicated Yoga students, there is one common denominator: All of them make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
If a Yoga student has a poor diet, or smokes, but keeps practicing, he or she will eventually give up bad habits. If a student is obese, years of Yoga practice usually will change his or her approach to life and diet. Some people eat without thinking. Yoga teaches us to be mindful of every action.
In the case of stress levels being too high: Everyone has stress, but Yoga teaches students to cope and to think clearly. The job that sends you over the edge today may be the cause of your hyper-tension tomorrow. Knowing this, one might ask how much more can he, or she, take before the job becomes a health risk.
Yet, how could Hatha Yoga compensate for genetic heart conditions? No form of Yoga can change a lineage of heart disease, but a healthy lifestyle should be able to extend your life, beyond the age of relatives, in your bloodline. In this case, a strict vegetarian diet may be a matter of necessity.
There are some people who will never change their lifestyles; even if, they know the consequences. Doctors deal with this every day, and it can be discouraging. One of the greatest gifts of life is the ability to change for the better. Practicing Hatha Yoga does not require you to turn your life upside down, but you have the power to eliminate health risks by priority.
Luckily, Hatha Yoga gives you all the tools for clarity of thought. It is up to you to take action for your sake and for those who love you. Time spent meditating will give you rational thought and life-saving solutions. The physical postures will develop a body that is the best it can be. Yogic breathing techniques require time and practice, but the rewards are inner calm and a method for coping with high stress levels.
To maintain one’s heart is a matter of choice – even if our ancestors did not leave us the best of genetic score cards.
© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, has written many books on the subject of Yoga. He is a co-owner and the Director of Yoga Teacher Training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA.
He has been a certified Master Yoga Teacher since 1995. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/member-offer.html