January 27th, 2018

Did you Know Yoga Clears Your Mind AND Boosts Your Heart Health? Time to Get Stretching!

If the closest you’ve ever gotten to doing downward dog is maneuvering yourself to get the tiny Lego® piece that fell under the couch, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your exercise routine. Yoga, it turns out, is really good for your heart.

Yes, we know that those running, jumping, get-your-heart-racing exercises are important for heart health. After all, we even call those exercises “cardio.” But quiet, meditative yoga also plays an important role in keeping your heart, and the rest of you, healthy.

So, what benefits can yoga offer you?

  • Physical health: Regularly doing yoga can help you by:
    • Gently exercising your muscles, which is good for your heart, blood vessels and of course, muscle tone.
    • Slowing your breathing rate through deep-breathing exercises, lowering blood pressure.
    • Improving your lung capacity.
    • Over time, lowering risk factors such as cholesterol levels, blood sugar and stress hormones.
  • Emotional health: We often associate yoga with meditation and reducing stress. And as it turns out, that is something your heart really needs, especially if you’ve experienced a heart attack or heart surgery. You may feel depressed or anxious. Yoga can be an important part of your cardiac rehab, helping you manage your stress and improving your mood.
  • Manage chronic diseases: If you have high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes or are obese, yoga can help improve your overall health.

Ready to dive in? Or down? Some tips before beginning a new yoga regimen:

  1. Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program, especially if you have chronic diseases.
  2. Find a qualified and trained cardiac medical yoga instructor. Your local heart center can help you find an appropriate instructor.
  3. Shop around. Yoga classes come in all different flavors. Find the type of class that meets your needs, based on your age, general health and medical history.
  4. Stick with it! Some of the benefits take a few weeks, or even months, to become apparent. The more effort you put in, the more yoga will give back to you.