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June Newsletter: Yoga for Heart Health

    Woman does yoga.

    Boost Your Heart Health with Yoga

    Looking for a simple way to improve your heart health? Yoga offers proven benefits for cardiovascular health and may help you reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

    How Yoga Improves Heart Health

    Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga offers both mind and body benefits. Yoga combines these three practices for the ultimate fitness experience:

    • Poses. Performing yoga poses improves balance, eases pain, and keeps your muscles, tissues, and joints strong and flexible.
    • Yogic Breathing. Coordinating your movements as you inhale and exhale slowly can help you extend or deepen a pose, in addition to reducing stress and improving blood circulation.
    • Meditation. Meditation involves clearing your mind off all thoughts and focusing on an image or mantra (word or sound you silently repeat). Meditation reduces stress and anxiety while improving self awareness.

    When you make time for yoga, you'll enjoy these heart health benefits:

    • Reduced Cholesterol Levels. High cholesterol causes plaque build-up in your blood vessels. Plaque is a waxy, fatty substances that clogs blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood to your heart. This condition, called coronary artery disease, can cause chest pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Sometimes a piece of plaque breaks away from the blood vessel wall and enters your bloodstream. If plaque blocks blood flow to the heart or brain, you could have a heart attack or stroke. Yoga may lower your cholesterol level and prevent or reduce plaque accumulation in your blood vessels. Although more research studies are needed, yoga has shown a beneficial effect on cholesterol in several research studies.
    • Decreased Inflammation. Chronic inflammation can worsen plaque formation in your blood vessels, in addition to causing body aches, headaches, joint pain, insomnia, and depression. Yoga reduces inflammation naturally, helping you protect your heart.
    • Less Stress. It may not be possible to completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can reduce it with yoga. Stress not only gives you a headache and upset stomach, but may increase blood pressure, chronic inflammation and blood sugar, and increase your heart attack risk. Adults who participated in eight weeks of yoga classes in a research study published in Acta Psychologica reported less stress and increased mindfulness.
    • Improved Circulation. Yoga poses boost blood circulation, ensuring that your heart and brain receive a consistent flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients.
    • Lower Blood Pressure. High blood pressure can eventually damage your arteries, the blood vessels that transport blood from the heart to every part of your body. High blood pressure limits the amount of blood and oxygen that reaches your heart, increasing your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and heart failure. Luckily, yogic breathing can help you keep your blood pressure under control. University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers discovered that yogic breathing exercises lowered blood pressure by at least five points in 54% of participants.
    • Better Blood Sugar Control. High blood sugar increases your risk of heart disease by damaging nerves that control the heart and blood vessels, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Yoga could help you help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level and reduce your risk for Type II diabetes or help you control your blood sugar if you already have Type II diabetes. Men with Type II diabetes had a significantly lower blood sugar levels after participating in six months of yoga classes, according to a research study published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research in 2015.
    • Better Health if You Have Heart Disease. It's never too late to start yoga, even if you already have heart disease. Yoga regulates the nervous system, in addition to helping you control your blood pressure, blood sugar, and stress levels. Heart failure patients who performed yoga five days a week for one year had improvements in symptom stability, quality of life, strength, endurance, and balance, according to a research study presented at the American College of Cardiology Asia 2023 Conference.

    Yoga offers the ideal way to improve your heart health, no matter what your age or fitness level. Contact us for information for our classes offered at our studio.


    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke, 4/2021

    NCBI: Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research : Effect of Yoga on Blood Glucose Levels in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, 4/2021

    Science Direct: Acta Psychological: The Influence of Hatha Yoga on Stress, Anxiety and Suppression: A Randomized Controlled Trial, 11/2023

    University of Missouri School of Medicine: Can Yoga Lower Your Blood Pressure?, 10/18/2019

    American College of Cardiology: Yoga Improves Quality of Life, Cardiovascular Function in Heart Failure Patients, 9/26/2023