In Sanscrit for a yoga pose 4,000 years old, touching your toes is called Paschimottanasana. In the medical community today, it is a new method of testing arterial flexibility.
Japanese researchers at the National Institute for Health and Nutrition released a report on their findings “that flexibility may be a predictor of arterial stiffening, independent of other components of fitness.”
The New York Times recently blogged on the increase of heart attacks and strokes during the holidays. Explaining away the increase in incidents due to over eating; someone less likely to call for assistance and spoiling the family day; and possibly (really) overall family stress. According to the American Heart Association, warnings signs of a heart attack include: chest discomfort and in other areas of the body; shortness of breath and possibly, cold sweat, nausea or feeling lightheaded. Stroke warnings include: sudden numbness; sudden confusion or trouble speaking; troubling seeing; difficulty walking; or a sudden headache. Try having the person smile or say something. Immediately call 911 for help. Lifesaving treatments are available and if given as soon as possible (within three hours) long-term disability can be mitigated.
Before the heart attack or stroke symptoms need to be acted upon, try yoga – it is good for the body, mind and soul. Touch your toes on a regular basis.
By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C.