Many people in the United States suffer from heart related illnesses. In fact, 5.7 million Americans suffer from heart disease, and one out of every three adults suffers from high blood pressure. While people living with these diseases work hard to change their lifestyle through a healthier diet, more exercise, and vitamins, yoga is often overlooked. Read on to learn how yoga can help your heart.
Since heart health is a leading problem in the US, many studies have been conducted in an attempt to better understand the causes and cures of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other ailments.
One such study was published in 2016 in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, describing the benefits of yoga on patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, a heart disease that is characterized by irregular rhythms. Currently, the only treatments for this disease are medications and surgery, but researchers were hoping yoga would have a recognizable effect.
Among the 80 people that participated in the study, only 40 would receive yoga instruction on a regular basis. After just 12 weeks, the group that practiced yoga not only had lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate, they also scored higher on a mental health and happiness test.
There have been several other studies where patients at risk for stroke or heart attack benefited from regular yoga exercise. While yoga does not cure heart illnesses, it is currently being considered as a complementary treatment, to be used with prescription medication.
A Special Kind of Yoga
While these studies encourage many to delve into yoga practice, not all styles of yoga are as beneficial as others for those suffering from heart ailments. The best yoga style for heart health, and the one used in the most successful studies, is Hatha yoga.
While Hatha generally means any type of yoga, its usage has evolved to mean a gentle, basic yoga. It doesn’t concentrate on poses or the flow of the practice. Instead, it’s a slow paced stretching class with a focus on breathing exercises and meditation.
One reason Hatha yoga is so beneficial to those suffering from high blood pressure and other heart disease is that it’s known to lower blood pressure. Other forms of exercise also lower blood pressure, but often, they require more intense physical activity. Furthermore, most other forms of exercise don’t include the meditative aspect that is so important in yoga practice.
Meditation has been shown to strongly affect the reduction of stress, allowing individuals to relax and better control their heart rate and breathing. Lowering mental stress on a regular basis creates a better balanced autonomic nervous system, ensuring a healthier heart.
Moves that Help
Some of the best yoga moves to perform when practicing gentle yoga include, Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), Plow Pose (Halasana), and Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana).
Moving slowly from pose to pose, staying in each one long enough to relax, is enough physical activity to affect heart rate and blood pressure. Ending your routine with meditation capitalizes on the benefits of a healthier heart and helps calm the mind.
There are many habits that should be added into daily life that ensure a healthy mind and body. Even organic, aromatherapy body care products, like those from YUNI Beauty, can be used to replace harmful, chemical laden soaps and body washes. Add yoga into your daily routine to enjoy the full benefits of a fit lifestyle.