Yoga has been hailed for its many benefits, so it comes as no surprise that it can help to improve heart health and even reduce a person’s risk of heart disease. M. Mala Cunningham, the founder of Cardiac Yoga, said, “Yoga is designed to bring about increased physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Hand in hand with leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, it really is possible for a yoga-based model to help prevent or reverse heart disease. It may not completely reverse it, but you will definitely see benefits.”
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week, totally 150 minutes, for proper heart health. You can also partake in 25 minutes of vigorous activity three days a week for 75 minutes total, or even a combination of moderate to vigorous activity.
Yoga is a great activity for the heart, especially among seniors, because it is gentle on the joints and is designed for all fitness types. Yoga has been found to reduce stress and blood pressure, improve respiratory function and heart rate, and boost circulation and muscle tone. These are all positive changes when it comes to improving heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, yoga is safe for patients who have already experienced a cardiac event. Cunningham continued, “The acute emotional stress of such an event certainly has a significant and adverse effect on the heart. That’s where yoga can be a tremendous benefit to manage the stress.”
“The more energy you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it. After 12 weeks, you may see a dramatic increase in exercise functionality, and blood pressure and cholesterol levels may decrease.”
You can begin improving your heart health with yoga by visiting a registered and well-trained instructor who can help guide you through your practice.
The yoga-heart connection
More and more cardiologists are recognizing the benefits of yoga in improving heart health. First off, yoga is an immediate stress reliever as it promotes living in the moment and letting go of the day’s stresses. As you are guided through different poses, you are focusing on your breathing.
Yoga has been found to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, too, all the while improving circulation and heart rate. In one study, those who practiced yoga regularly reduced their waist circumference in three months, which means a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.
An alternative study showed that yoga twice a week reduced the risk of atrial fibrillation episodes in patients with this condition.
Lastly, studies have shown that yoga can aid in smoking cessation, which is a known risk factor for heart disease and heart-related complications.
As you can see, yoga a few times a week can go a long way in improving heart health, giving yet another reason why you should incorporate it into your life.
Yoga poses for a healthy heart
Here is a list of good yoga poses to help promote a healthy heart. If you’re unfamiliar with yoga, the names of these poses may not make much sense, but by speaking with a trained yoga instructor or even conducting some online research, you can get an idea on how to complete these poses and start improving your heart health as soon as today.
- Mountain pose
- Tree pose
- Extended hand and foot pose
- Triangle pose
- Warrior pose
- Chair pose
- Cat pose
- Downward facing dog
- Cobra pose
- Bow pose
- Bridge pose
- Half shoulder stand
- Two-legged forward bend
- Sitting half spinal twist
- Stick pose
- Dolphin pose
- Dolphin plank
- Corpse pose
- Anjali mudra