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Yoga and Heart Health

November 25, 2011

Yoga was first practiced thousands of years ago in India, and it is enjoying tremendous popularity around the world today. It is a form of meditative exercise that uses a combination of breathing, meditation, and exercise techniques to help you achieve better physical and mental health, and make important lifestyle changes. It has been discovered that this ancient form of exercise can boost your cardiovascular health as well. Yoga can make a big difference in your heart health by strengthening your body, enhancing mental and physical relaxation, and helping you manage stress.

Yoga is good for your heart healthProper breathing can influence the rhythm of your heart significantly. Many yoga practices, such as pranayama, hatha yoga, and mantra recitation, encourage slow deep breathing. By slowing down and lengthening your breath, you can reduce your heart rate, regulate your heart rhythm, and oxygenate your blood. It has been shown that slow steady breathing can lower the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Certain yoga postures are effective in preventing and controlling heart disease. Side-bending poses can remove energetic blockages in your heart and chest, while upper-bending poses can improve your cardiovascular and respiratory functions. There are also spine-lengthening poses for reducing compression on your heart, and relaxation poses for lowering high blood pressure. Studies revealed that practicing yoga three times a week can help you maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk.

Additionally, meditative yoga can reduce stress and calm your mind. It can alleviate certain emotions that can be detrimental to your heart, such as anxiety, depression, and hostility. Researchers found that practicing meditative yoga on a daily basis can lower blood pressure and reduce fatty deposits in your arteries.

Finally, practicing yoga will naturally lead you to choose a heart healthier lifestyle. As such, you will reduce or eliminate consumption of foods that can jeopardize your heart health, such as sugar, caffeine, and foods that are high in cholesterol and fat.

Photo Credit: Temari 09