For thousands of years, the heart has been recognized as the seat of the soul in many different cultures around the world. Today, science reveals that the heart beats over three hundred thousand times a day, delivering nutrition to almost all of the body’s 75 trillion cells. However, the heart is much more than a mechanical pump. It is the center of our essence, connected to our subtle energetic body, and is intimately intertwined with the heart chakra. With so many important channels intersecting at the heart, almost all imbalances (physical, mental, and emotional) can directly impacts the heart. Heart disease is a massive epidemic in America and the number one killer of adults, taking more lives than the next three leading causes of death combined. The things we do every day add up to our health condition later in life, and it is no question that the heart is an important health investment. This is why a healthy lifestyle is so important, and there are everyday things we can do to have a healthy heart. In this article, we will address how Ayurveda views this amazing organ and what we can do to keep it strong and healthy.
Ayurveda sees that the heart is a huge energetic hub and is deeply connected to our subtle body, which extends beyond the physical. It is the primary seat of the doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) as well as the center of our essence and vitality (ojas), and is intimately connected to the heart chakra (Anahata). Energetically, the heart chakra is seen as a bridge to higher consciousness and is the intersection of our inner and outer worlds. This energetic vortex is the primary center of our emotions, especially those of love, empathy, loneliness, grief, and sadness. Issues of ongoing emotional upset can directly affect the heart’s health. It is also the center of three intersecting channels: the mind channel, the respiratory channel, and the plasma and lymph channel. As such, the heart is deeply connected to our mental state, circulation of prana (life force energy).
As the center for so many crucial aspects of our lives, having heart problems can be extremely challenging and lead to many other health issues. Thankfully, as an intersection of many different areas of health, there is a wide range of therapeutic strategies that will benefit the heart. While taking a holistic approach to your health will help with any heart problems you might be concern of, it is by no means meant to replace any previous medical advice if you have a serious medical condition. Please check with your doctor before implementing any new therapeutic strategies. That being said, here are a few ways in which Ayurveda can help with having a healthy heart!
Pranayana, meditation, and sleep.
As a holistic approach to health, Ayurveda requires you to support the emotional heart as well as the physical. Stress is one of the leading factors contributing to heart disease. Stress disrupts the emotional heart and contributes to blood clots (the main cause of heart attacks) due to the rise in stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Therefore, reducing stress levels is crucial when it come to preventing heart disease. Practicing Yoga several times a week along with meditation have proved to lower stress and promote overall wellbeing in the body. Pranayama is a form of breathing exercises that helps clear blockages in our energetic channels by circulating prana (vital life energy) throughout the body. Pranayama restores the subtle energy channels, releases tension, and supports the nervous system. It also supports heart health by calming and purifying the mind, and helps with circulation. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is also essential to lowering stress levels and balancing out hormones, so be sure to get at least 7 hours and go to bed ideally before 10pm.
Exercise is one of the most important aspects of health, especially for your heart. Consistent, regular exercise every day will have amazing benefits when it comes to living a long and happy life. It releases tension, allows the flow of prana, moves stagnant energy, and improves circulation. Taking a walk every day is a great way to move and breathe fresh air. Exercise shouldn’t be intimidating, but rather something that is enjoyable and fun, so be sure to pick out activities that you may enjoy such as riding a bike!
Eat a Heart-Friendly Diet
What we put into our bodies directly impacts our hearts. In a society where fast foods, eating in the car, improper timing and combinations or food are all commonly accepted, it is no wonder that there is an alarming number of Americans with heart issues. Eating wholesome, nutritious foods that balance out you Ayurvedic constitution is recommended. If you are unsure of what your constitution is, please take our “what’s my dosha” quiz on our home page. Once you have discovered if you have any current imbalances and have found a diet that helps to realign your constitution to that of health, we suggest adjusting the way you eat. Eating is a sacred act of love, and should by no means be done while driving, walking, being emotionally upset, or any other forms of multitasking. To keep the digestive fire burning at its peak, take a half an hour to sit down stress-free and visualize receiving each meal. Allow it to nourish every cell in the body, giving life and energy to your sacred vessel. Make sure to eat plenty of fiber-rich and heart-friendly foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds, black pepper and turmeric.
As the pathway to higher consciousness and the link between our inner and outer realms, cultivating positivity in life will do wonders for the heart. Ayurveda talks about the Ojas, or essence, of our being and substance that maintains life. Strong Ojas lead to vitality, long life, vibrancy and health. Cultivating positivity in your inner realm will strengthen the Ojas and improve the emotional heart. Spending time every day to do something you enjoy, such as going on a hike, listening to music, drinking tea or reading a book are wonderful ways to maintain a positive attitude and support internal happiness.
Ayurveda has many herbs that are beneficial to the health of the heart, but the bark of the Arjuna is by far the most prized for its ability to heal heart related issues. Arjuna means “white” or “shining” and has been proven to reduce cholesterol, reduce inflammation and congestion, treat emotional imbalance due to a “broken heart”, strengthen the muscles, tone the capillaries, prevents high blood pressure and regulates circulation.
Our hearts are without a doubt one of the most important physical, energetic, and emotional parts of our being. With proper stress management, nutrition, exercise, balance, and overall self-care, our bodies can flourish. Realigning ourselves with our own authentic nature will allow the heart to shine with vibrancy and health. We hope this helps give some insight into how Ayurveda views the heart, and how we can attain a radiant heart.
Santa Cruz Ayurveda
Mischke, Melody. “Vibrant Heart.” Banyan. N.p., 30 Jan. 2015. Web. 21 July 2017.
“Ayurveda’s Seven Common Sense Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy : Cardiovascular Health | Maharishi Ayurveda.” Maharishi Ayurveda Products International. The Art and Science of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2017.