Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone who truly inspires you? That’s what happened to me this summer in Montreal, Canada. I was attending the 36th annual conference for Spiritual Science Fellowship when I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Madan Bali. Spending time with him reaffirmed the benefits of yoga for heart health.
If you take a look at this photo of the two of us, you'll probably be as surprised as I was to learn that Dr. Bali is actually 87 years old. From his fit physique and the spring in his step, to his clear eyes and quick mental processing, Dr Bali exudes light and energy. The secret to his incredibly youthful appearance is that he practices yoga for health—in fact he’s a yoga master.
At that conference, Dr. Bali and I spoke extensively about the benefits of yoga for health, including yoga for heart health. You see, most folks think of yoga in terms of the physical posturing involved, and the bodily organs that those positions stimulate. For example, the headstand pose stimulates the thyroid gland. But, for a cardiologist like me the benefits of yoga for heart health are about the breath work involved with yoga.
The Secret to Yoga for Heart Health Comes from the Slow, Deep Breaths
The slow, deep breathing used in yoga helps to:
- Calm and relax your body and mind
- Relax the arterial walls
- Low blood pressure
- Slow your heart rate
- Enhance your heart rate variability
But you don’t need to practice yoga to get some of these same benefits of yoga. Dr. Bali gave me simple breathing exercises you can try whether you’re doing yoga moves, or something as simple as walking.
Just close your mouth and inhale deeply and slowly through your nostrils. Exhale through pursed lips in short puffs until all the air is expelled. Repeat the inhale-exhale cycle for three to five minutes.
As you do this breathing exercise, focus your mind on your intention that this activity is the most important thing that you can do for your heart. It will keep you focused on being in the moment and experiencing a positive outcome.
For more of Dr. Bali’s yoga wisdom, including the many benefits of yoga, visit his website at www.yogabliss.ca.
Now it’s your turn: Have you experienced the benefits of yoga for heart health?
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