( By The Yoga Institute )

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Management of Ischaemic Heart Disease the Yogic Way

Since fear and insecurity are quite marked in most cardiac patients who have already experienced a myocardial infarction, the techniques used throughout the camp were to create a positive relaxed attitude to their problem. This was achieved in the following ways:


  • Mental and physical tension is interlinked, so frequent counselling was done with the yogic experts. The actual facts of the disease were presented in a simple factual way by the cardiologist, Dr. S. R. Shah frequently in well documented friendly talks, so the fear of the unknown was lessened.


  • The areas of tension were identified and resolved in the sharing sessions and by other indirect approaches.


  • Relaxation techniques like Nispandabhava, Savasana, were practised times. The index of relaxation was gauged by a biofeedback apparatus.


  • Through talks, stories and indirect discussions a philosophical attitude towards life was created whereby many of the inborn tensions of interpersonal relationships or coping with the stresses of modern living were resolved. It was suggested that a witnesslike attitude would help instead of thinking that a witnesslike attitude would help instead of thinking that everything revolved around the 'I'. The art of participation in life with excellence but with a detached attitude was reiterated.


  • Even though most of the participants were used to planning things in their day-to-day life they were unaware of emotional planning where the reactions to certain situations could be foreseen and rehearsed so that action in a balanced way is possible rather than reaction.


  • Actual work situations were created where a relaxed attitude could be cultivated. This was like gardening.


  • The hierarchy of duties were presented so that one could realize the priorities of duties.


  • The thought of doing one's best and leaving the rest to a higher process was emphasized. This helps in minimizing the actual burden which many cardiac patients feel.


  • Today modern physicians give more emphasis to physical exercise than at any other time. The pendulum has swung from no exercise for cardiac patients to bigger and better exercise programmes. Since at the Cardiac Camp most of the patients had a myocardial infarction and more than six months had elapsed, the Asanas and Pranayamas were chosen to improve the circulation to the heart by exercising the extremities. Thus Utkatasana, Yastikasana, Matsyasana, Bhadrasana were taught. (For details, please see the section on Asanas).


  • It has been noticed that the best type of exercise for cardiac patients is exercise a for few minutes and then rest. For upper stretch of the spinal region a gentle Parvatasana was found beneficial.


  • For abdominal exercise Yoga Mudra And Konasana 11 were helpful. Of course the primary rule in Yoga of not doing any exercise to the point of exertion and exhaustion was maintained throughout.


  • Nispandabhava and Savasana were done for transfer of energy from overused areas to other areas and for deep relaxation.


  • Jalaneti, Kapalabhatti, Karanarandadhouti were among the Kriyas taught. Jalaneti helps to keep the respiratory passages free of pollutants and therefore decreasing the risk of respiratory infections.


  • Pranayama I was taught to make the patient aware of his respiratory apparatus and help him to equalize his breathing. Pranayama II helped in using the intercostals, Pranayama IV made them see the value of diaphragmatic breathing and Paranayama VIII where breathing out is done in a slow relaxed way helping to create a relaxed feeling.


  • As part of recreation, singing and gardening were encouraged. In the session at 8.00 p.m. with Smt. Hansa Jayadeva positive feelings were induced by the repetition of AUM and other finer thoughts.


  • The diet given was Sattvic, low in fats, salt and proteins but rich in easily digestible fresh vegetables and fruits. While tea was avoided, a herbal drink of tulsi leaves and lemon grass in half quantity milk and water was offered. The meals were served at four hourly intervals and the last meal of the day was given at 7.30 p.m. so that the stomach was not too full at bedtime.


  • Patients were encouraged to walk an hour in the morning and evening in a relaxed manner which helped the circulation to all parts of the body.


  • In order to help patients experience positive feelings of love, faith, joy and relaxation an atmosphere of friendliness and a sense of worth was maintained. Many of the patients felt that the cordial atmosphere of the Ashram and the staff contributed to inculcating the feeling of strength and faith.


Percentage Of Persons
Constant Relaxomat Reading MaySeptember


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