A Happy Heart Is A Healthy Heart Perhaps no other organ is more vital than the heart at sustaining our existence as well as being the intimate connection between our emotional life and overall health. Shockingly, every 20 seconds. someone in the U.S. has a heart attack.
“To protect the heart and great vessels, above all take measures that are healthy for the heart and promote ojas, that cleanse the gaps and channels, and help create serenity of mind.” – Charaka Samhita
Ancient Wisdom – Don’t Stress Many thousands of years ago, the classical texts of Ayurveda identified the specific causes of heart disease as we known them today. For example, it was mentioned that eatng too much fatty and rich food along with suffering from chronic mental and emotional stress were considered the root causes of heart disease. Our modern lifestyles are all too familiar with these factors and we could refine the root cause of heart disease as being stress on various levels [physical, psychological, and biochemical-oxidative stress].
The Natural Approach Both modern medicine and ayurveda both agree that there are daily things that we can do to help keep our heart more healthy. For example, Dr. Dean Ornish, M.D. conducted a study addressing the concern “Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease?” In 1990, the results of this study were published in the Lancet and was considered a landmark study which attemped to display the ability of reversing heart disease through a comprehensive lifestyle program consisting of diet, exercise, smoking cessation, stress reduction, and group support.
Connection of body and mind: Dr. Vasant Lad on healing the mind
Mind-Body Connection: Dr. Vasant Lad Talks About Healing The Mind
“Every experience creates a scar on the mind – an impression on the mind. Every thought creates a groove on the brain. So, the total number of scars is samskar … these samskars creates our tendencies, how you will behave, how you will react. All that action, reaction, behavior – that comes from samskar.”
– Dr. Lad, Ayurvedic Physician
Getting To The Heart Of The Matter According to many ancient cultures, the heart can almost be looked upon as two distinct entities – a physical pump to help circulate blood around the body and an emotional heart which experiences love, joy, sadness and all the other various feelings tailored to life. In order to increase immunity to disease, it is important to take great care of both ‘hearts’. Ayurveda addresses both ‘hearts’ by helping to reduce chronic stress through various methods for cultivating awareness [i.e. meditation & yoga], balancing the doshas [bodily humors], supporting healthy digestion [i.e. agni], and perhaps most importantly – administering ojas-enhancing rejuvenatives [i.e. rasayanas] to help enhance immunity and to promote overall well-being.
“Life known by sensory experience is located in the heart. It is also the seat of the essential ojas and resevoir of consciousness.” – Charaka Samhita
There is a profound relationship for every passing thought, subtle feeling, and fleeting emotion within the mind and its influence upon the entire body. In a way, any action within the mind provides a similar [re]-action within both the heart and brain. According to the wisdom of Ayurveda, imbalanced emotions such as worry, grief and fear can “dry up” the natural storehouse of nourishing ojas and therefore can affect heart-health. From an Ayurvedic perspective, ojas can be enhanced by rasayanas [i.e. rejuvenatives]. There are various forms of rasayanas, however, all rasayanas are thought to operate at the deepest level of our physiology.
“Ojas has the capacity to counteract the etiological factors or causes of disease.” – Dr. Vasant Lad
Ways To Increase Ojas: · Meditation · Moderate yoga suited to one’s constitution · Pranayama (breathing exercises) · Consuming fresh wholesome and balanced meals appropriate to ones state of balance · Following a daily morning practice incorporating walking in nature, nasal drops and oil massages · Certain herbs such as Ashwagandha and Shatavari can help in promoting Ojas · A restful and appropriate sleep is vital to building Ojas
Ghee + Heart Health: Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid [CLA] which is a fatty acid with known protective qualities against arterial plaque formation and diabetes – known risk factors of heart disease. According to some studies [to prevent cardiovascular disease], researchers say that ghee can potentially be used to help prevent heart disease.