Stretch and Breathe Your
If you are looking for a calming way to
Way to Heart Health!
get your recommended daily dose...
Kelly CorriganIt was a total shock to the system
when Kelly Corrigan, a happily
married mother of two...
A Summer Reading List for
Summer is the perfect season to
make time for reading. There is little...
Stretch and Breathe Your Way to Heart Health!
If you are looking for a calming way to get your recommended daily dose of exercise, you may need to look no further than the floor! Americans looking for a new twist on working out are hitting the mat (the yoga mat, that is!) in ever-increasing numbers.
Researchers are finding that yoga may actually reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. In addition, yoga is credited with other wide-ranging health benefits, including easing chronic back pain, depress, diabetes, menopause, obesity, and even fatigue in cancer patients.
Yoga is a blend of interconnected combination of stretching and muscle activity used to achieve physical poses, deep controlled breathing, and focusing and clearing the mind through meditation. These elements combine to provide special hearth-health benefits and offer distinct advantages to those with cardiovascular disease.
Among the ways that yoga can improve your cardiovascular health:
- Yoga gently works your muscles, which is good for your blood vessels and heart.
- Physical activity like yoga helps to control your blood sugar by helping your muscles increase their sensitivity to insulin.
- Slower, deeper breathing temporarily lowers your blood pressure.
- Yoga has been shown to lower other cardiovascular risk factors, including cholesterol, stress hormones, resting heart rates, and the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).
- The meditative component of yoga helps to stabilize the endothelium, or blood vessel lining, which contributes to cardiovascular disease when irritated.
There are many different kinds of yoga, from gentle to very active. Although research suggests that most people can benefit from any style of yoga, the more peaceful hatha yoga – which has slower, easier movements – is great for beginners.
Here are a few tips for finding the right yoga class for you:
- Look for a yoga class that offers the complete package – poses, breathing and meditation. These three elements are interconnected and work together to give you and your heart a total workout.
- Look for a class that matches your level of ability and experience. If it is your first time, ask if it is appropriate for beginners and if it will be easy for you to follow along.
- Decide what your expectations from the class are, and then find out if the class is aimed toward your needs or if it is geared more for people looking for other benefits.
- Ask about the instructor's qualifications and find out if he or she has experience working with students with your specific needs or health concerns. A good instructor should create a safe, positive environment for all of his or her students by helping them modify poses to meet individual abilities and limitations.
- No matter which style of yoga you choose, you do not have to do every pose. A good instructor will understand if a pose is too uncomfortable or if you are unable to hold it as long as requested. You should be encouraged to explore rather than exceed your limits.
Though yoga is not a cure for heart disease, it is a valuable tool for helping to manage cardiovascular disease and keeping your heart healthy. Work with your physician to develop a plan that is right for you and your family.
Join us for a free morning of yoga, food and heart health at "Feed Your Body and Soul" – a free event where you can join in an outdoor yoga class, participate in a heart healthy food demo and hear from Dignity Health heart health experts about easy ways to improve your heart health. Join us August 2 at the Palladio in Folsom. Watch for registration info in coming days!