Heart Ailments as a Focus Area
One of the most important focus areas for individuals is a healthy heart. All nations, races, sexes and age groups are now equally prone to heart related ailments across the World. This problem is even more acute in areas where there is a genetic predisposition to heart problems; like the Indian subcontinent. It is estimated that over the next couple of decades, one in every three individuals will have some issue related with the heart by the time they reach their fifties.
Reasons For Heart Problems
There are so many reasons given for the increasing incidence of heart related problems. This is true even for young, healthy people and those who do not have a genetic predisposition. Some of the reasons which impact the heart are:
- Exposure to pollution, whether environmental or noise.
- Food sources are posioned across the world. Everything we eat has chemicals, hormones and impurities, including the freshest of sea food.
- Impure milk and milk products.
- Drinking water is contaminated. Treated water has excess amounts of unwanted elements and minerals which also cause damage.
- Stress levels.
- Lack of sleep or other sleep related problems.
- Incorrect lifestyle.
- Bad eating and drinking habits.
- Alcohol, tobacco, coffee and drugs.
- Excessive, unrequired or over-the-counter medication.
The Most Important Factor For Heart Problems
Most of these risk factors are known to us even though we may not pay attention to them. However, one of the most important factors is the way we sit. The modern way of sitting is one of the main causes which accelerates or initiates heart problems.
How we sit has a great impact on the entire body, especially on the heart. As highlighted above, one of the biggest contributors to heart disease and blood pressure is the way we sit. The worst way to sit is on a chair or a sofa with your feet down. This is how we all sit today all the time, even at home.
The reason is that sitting like this increases the work load for your heart. The heart has to practically increase its efforts by over sixty percent to pump back blood against gravity and get it to circulate across the body. This puts an amazing amount of extra strain on the heart. The wear and tear is surer and faster. In combination with the other causes mentioned above, imagine the load on the heart.
The Solution; How To Sit
What is the correct way to sit? This is the logical question. The answer is thousands of years old and given by the Yogis and Rishis of the past:
- Preferably sit on the floor. If you are on the floor itself, there is less work to do, to pump blood upwards.
- If you cannot sit on the floor, then sit with your legs up in different positions. Sitting with your legs up cuts out the effort of pulling up blood from the waist downwards, because the body is folded closer to the heart. So the heart now has to pump that much of a distance less (the length of your legs, waist down is more than the upper body), against gravity. That is fifty to sixty percent of the effort gone.
- Try sitting with your legs crossed over each other or intertwined. This locks the legs and blood requirement reduces dramatically to the lower limbs. Initially you may find you get pins and needles but with practice, this becomes very comfortable. Keep shifting your legs every few minutes in different positions. Once you are used to it, there will be no discomfort.
Other Benefits of Sitting Cross Legged Or With Legs Up
- It has been seen that sitting in this position uses up less energy than sitting on a chair and sometimes even better than lying down.
- In addition, sitting in this position and also eating in this position creates a very positive pressure on the digestive organs. In a short span of a few weeks you may notice digestive problems will reduce.
- Sitting like this helps keep the spine supple and maintains your balance. It is good for spine health, back aches and also reduces the load on the lower spine.
This ideal position in Yoga is called Sukhasana. If you cannot sit cross legged, start making it a habit to sit with your legs up as much as you can to keep your heart healthy.
For other such wonderful practices for the heart and mind, do opt for one of our online yoga programs.