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  • Hrudayam: Ayurveda and Yoga for the Heart

    Hrudayam: Ayurveda and Yoga for the Heart

    Hrudayam: Ayurveda and Yoga for the Heart

    I know it’s not a ‘Heart Health Month’, but really, every month should be a ‘ Heart Month’.

    Our heart beats every second of every month, doesn’t it?

    The Sanskrit word for Heart is ‘Hrudayam’

    I recently had the good fortune of listening to Dr. Vasant Lad, the great Ayurvedic practitioner in the US. He explained the word ‘Hrudayam’ very beautifully in a short time.

    “Hrudayam,” he said, “Consists of three words”.

    • ”Hru means to receive.”
    • “Da means to give.”
    • “Yam means to circulate or to regulate.”

    “That’s exactly what the Heart or Hrudayam does.” Dr Lad said. “Our Heart circulates the blood by receiving and giving back to various organs and systems through veins and arteries.”

    He further pointed out that the mantra for the Heart Chakra is ‘YAM’, the last word in ‘Hrudayam!’ “So repeating the mantra ‘yam…yam…yam’ may help the heart health.” Dr. Lad suggested.

    According to Ayurveda, the Heart is a maternal organ.

    It is not just a pump, but a source of emotions like joy, love, compassion, sadness, and grief. We often say, “My heart is filled with joy (or compassion or love etc),” but never do we say, “My brain is full of joy!”

    Ayurveda takes holistic approach towards Heart Health.

    We need to nourish our physical and emotional heart. Free radicals, wrong food, and a sedentary lifestyle harm the physical heart. Mental and emotional stress disrupts the emotional heart. So a number of Ayurvedic herbs, renowned for their positive influence on the heart are often recommended along with a daily practice of meditation, calming yoga poses and breathing techniques for a healthy heart.

    Daily Yoga Practice for Optimum Heart Health

    Poses

    Heart opening poses like:

    • Half Camel and Camel
    • Yoga Mudra
    • Standing half wheel

    Followed by toning and massaging poses like:

    • Baalaasana
    • Paschimotaanasana
    • sitting or standing tadasana (Tree Pose)

    Breathing Techniques

    • Sulabh Utjjayi
    • Anulom-Vilom
    • Chandra-bhedan/Chandra-abhyaasa (left nostril breathing)
    • Bhramari or humming sound
    • Om chanting

    Meditation

    Meditation on any female energy or Shakti like:

    • Gauri
    • Saraswati
    • Mother Mary

    They help rejuvenate the emotional heart.

    Colors

    Imagining soothing colors like pink or green, which are the heart chakra colors around the chest area calm the heart.

    Ayurvedic Herbal Remedies for Heart Health

    • Arjuna: Arjuna strengthens circulation and helps maintain the tone and health of the heart muscle. It is also recommended after a heart attack to promote healing. It is the most recommended Ayurvedic herb for maintaining the healthy heart.
    • Ginger: Ayurvedic physicians recommend eating a small amount of Ginger to promote heart health.
    • Garlic: Garlic helps reduce cholesterol, strengtheners the circulation and acts as a decongestant.
    • Other useful herbs for the Heart: Ashwagandha, Guggul, Sandalwood, Saffron, Cinnamon, black pepper and organic gulkanda or rose petal spread.

    Gemstones

    Wearing a Rose Quartz, a gentle gemstone, in a necklace may help calm the emotions. One can also wear healing stones like Green Aventure or Amethyst.

    Rudraksha

    Rudraksha are the dried seeds of the Rudraksha tree. They are said to be good for physical, emotional and spiritual heart health. Rudraksha seeds are often used by Yoga practitioners due to a belief that they open ‘Heart Chakra’. Rudraksha beads can be worn as a necklace or bracelet. Rudraksha water can be made by placing the bead in the glass of clean water, and then drinking the water the morning after for heart health.

    Lets take care of our hearts, folks. May we all be Heart Healthy

    Namaste!

     

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