The ancient practice of yoga involves breathing exercises, gentle movement, meditation and relaxation. This practice can significantly improve your heart health by reducing inflammation that damages the arteries, lowering the blood pressure and improving sleep.
Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, a neuroscientist and yoga researcher from Harvard Medical Schoolwho also participated in the Your Brain on Yoga documentary, said that, “there are four distinct but interconnected areas in which yoga has benefits, not just for heart disease, but any disease.”
Those areas include:
Stress is a potent enemy of the cardiovascular system. Unfortunately, it is an intricate part of our modern-day lifestyle. When you’re stressed, your body triggers the fight-or-flight response, your heart rate shoots up, and blood pressure skyrockets.
Yoga activates the opposite of these responses. Your system goes into a rest and digest mode and it naturallylowers your heart rate and blood pressure. With regular practice, you’ll become less reactive to strong emotions and stress.
Vinyasa yoga is an active form of yoga and the federal exercise guidelines considers its asanas to be moderate intensity exercises. Vinyasa yoga poses increase the balance, strength, and flexibility of your muscles, which is important for your overall well-being and physical fitness. Dr. Khalsa suggests that you combine deep and slow breathing with yoga poses to lower your blood pressure.
Proper practice of yoga requires you to focus and be aware of your body. Over time, you notice the positive effects of yoga and become aware of the negative effects of eating junk foods and living a sedentary lifestyle.
A 2012 research by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health confirms this. Eighty percent of the participants who practiced yoga said that it reduced their stress. Four out of ten of them said that practicing yoga helped them to eat healthier. That’s not all, two-thirds said that it inspired them to exercise regularly.
This shows that yoga does not only make you feel better physically. It will also help you mentally realize the effects of your lifestyle on your body and inspire you to make healthy changes. This is vital because lifestyle changes are important to prevent heart diseases.
Beyond helping you prevent and manage illnesses, yoga can cause a change on your outlook as a person. Many practitioners have stated that this ancient practice has transformed their lives for the better.
They claim to have a fresh perspective and have found their purpose in life. It is commonplace to find yoga practitioners go from being superficial to spiritual and charitable.
Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, recognized by Medicare, states that a lifestyle that includes yoga, low-fat diet, a supportive relationship, and moderate exercise reduce blockages in your arteries, even without medication. A 2008 study shows that there’s correlation between having a high sense of purpose and a reduction in the risk of heart disease.