YOGA & HEART HEALTH
Submitted by Leslie Salmon
As this month is dedicated to reducing Heart Disease, I took a moment to do a bit of research and found a great article from the Harvard Medical Review, summarized here: A small but promising body of research suggests that yoga may have special benefits for people with cardiovascular disease. The movement involved in yoga exercises our muscles — anything that works our muscles is good for our hearts and blood vessels. And this activity will help muscles become more sensitive to insulin – important for controlling blood sugar. Participants are encouraged to breathe deeply — this effort temporarily lowers blood pressure and calms our nervous system (think stress). One interesting fact: the heart rests on our diaphragm, our muscle for breathing; therefore, breathing well may assist the heart muscle with its work. Movement combined with deep breathing offers us a physical meditation, focusing and clearing the mind – also helpful in working with cardiovascular disease. The studies that have been done are small, but demonstrate that yoga may: – reduce high blood pressure – ease palpitations – enhance cardiac rehabilitation – lower risks factors such as cholesterol levels, blood sugar, stress hormones – improve balance, reduce falls, enhance breathing No matter your age, physical condition, or body type, there is a class for you. Studios offer many classes from chair yoga to restorative to more active ones. Do your homework – speak with the studio manager or owner to decide which is best for you.
Leslie Salmon, E-RYT500, RYTx-500
Certified Yoga Instructor & Yoga Therapist