Imagine if there was a magic pill that could improve your heart health, reduce stress, and boost your overall well-being. It would be the talk of the town, right? Well, what if I told you that this magical solution doesn’t come in a pill form, but rather in a practice that has been around for generations – meditation.
Yes, you read that right. Meditation has been found to have several surprising benefits for heart health. As we navigate through the stresses and uncertainties of modern life, it’s becoming increasingly important to find ways to take care of our hearts, both physically and emotionally. And meditation offers a simple and accessible way to do just that. So, let’s dive in and discover why we need to make meditation a regular part of our everyday routine.
Meditate for a Healthier Heart –
Improve Heart rate variability (HRV):
Heart rate variability refers to the variation in time between each heartbeat. A healthy heart has a high HRV, that is, the time lapse between each heartbeat is irregular and not steady, as it fluctuates in response to the body’s requirements. Research has shown that practising meditation regularly can improve HRV by promoting the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces stress and its related symptoms.
Reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases:
Meditation has been found to have a positive impact on several risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and obesity. Studies have shown that meditation can help manage blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and maintaining stress hormones in the body. Additionally, regular meditation practice can improve lipid profiles, decrease inflammation, and help reduce oxidative stress, all of which are important factors in the development of cardiovascular diseases. (source)
Controlling cortisol levels:
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released by the body in response to stress. When cortisol levels are consistently high, it can lead to a range of negative health outcomes, including weight gain, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease. Research has shown that meditation can reduce cortisol levels in the body, which can have a positive impact on heart health. By reducing stress and promoting relaxation, meditation can help manage cortisol levels and help reduce the risk of related health problems.
5 Forms of Meditation for Heart Health
Samatha meditation –
Samatha meditation is the process of calming the mind by engaging in mindful concentration while focusing solely on breathing, a picture, or an object.
Vipassana meditation –
Vipassana places a strong emphasis on breath awareness, tuning into the air as it enters and exits the nose. It lets you categorise your thoughts and sensations as they come to the mind, making mental notes as you follow things that catch your attention.
Kriya Yoga –
It is a method of concentration that helps you settle down and focus on one thing. Mantras, breathing exercises, and meditation on the chakras and spinal cord focus points are all included.
Transcendental Meditation –
It takes an approach where each practitioner receives a unique mantra that they can use to help focus their thoughts inward. It is advisable to practice it twice for 20 minutes each to reap its benefits.
Relaxation response –
This technique involves many facets, including breath monitoring and tracking, repeating a word, positive affirmations, or a prayer.
A Guide for Beginners-
Choosing one form of meditation can be overwhelming. You can try this 20-minute meditation routine to begin with-
- In a quiet environment, take a seat, close your eyes and start to breathe gradually.
- Starting with your feet, legs, and thighs, start to let the muscles of your body loose.
- Roll your neck to the left, then to the right, and shrug your shoulders.
- Say the word “peace” aloud or any words of affirmation to yourself after each breath.
- Don’t give up when your thoughts stray. Return to the pattern’s repetition.
- Continue for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Don’t Give Up
As a beginner, you might feel a rush of incoming thoughts, feel like zoning out now and then, or you might find it hard to visualise or feel some sensations in your body. But keep in mind that it could take some time to get into a habit and start experiencing the health benefits of meditation, you’ll soon be on your way to lead a better and more peaceful life.