Yoga for Heart Health


It is no secret that rest is the body’s own, built-in healing mechanism. Making time in one’s day to actively rest, a practice that known to many people as yoga, is the single most prescribed, natural and low impact exercise for heart health at all ages. Babying a strained muscle, indulging in a deep stretch when, and setting aside 10 to 15 minutes at work simply to relax are all examples of the simple and most effective ways to return to peak performance.

Maintaining a healthy regimen that increases blood flow, if even for 20 minutes daily, will encourage a range of related benefits. The heart being the largest muscle in the body means that when the heart and lungs are thriving, the rest of the body begins to follow with patience. Yoga and meditation being so closely linked, take the time to practice deep, slow breathing consciously throughout the day. The health benefits from this activity alone will can be felt immediately.

Often, yoga and meditation go hand in hand. Meditation is a planned resting period of the body and mind, and a tool to actively decrease naturally occurring stress, toxins, and exhaustion. Mediation most often involves sitting in silence and giving the conscious mind a chance to pause and recuperate from the tension and fatigue of daily activities. Through meditation, one can gain perspective, confidence and clarity, as well as achieve a state of inner peace and a sense of tranquility or order.

Meditation is so effective in part because it creates an interruption in the negativity that most people experience throughout the day. Worry, feelings of inadequacy, bitterness, disappointment, and other unproductive influences work their way into the mind sometimes, like a reflex or habit. Without the clarity and sense of order achieved through meditation, feelings of chaos or turbulence can become extremely disruptive to daily activities and goals. However, movement provides the body with better circulation, a sense of being in touch with the senses, and inner peace that resonates in clearer thoughts and more pronounced goals, some practitioners say.

Modern as well as alternative medicine concur that the yoga has proven health benefits. Yoga has been definitely linked to measurable results, such as more restful sleep, a stronger immune system, better cardiovascular health, and stress reduction. According to doctors, the surest remedy for heart attack sufferers was once bed rest. While the sort of calm and rest that bed rest provides is valuable in some stages of healing, a different school of thought took hold around 1990. Doctors, at this time, decided that a different approach was needed to help build heart health in those with a predisposition to cardiac trouble. Yoga is a wonderful alternative for those who seek a range of movement but not a strenuous challenge.

Experiencing the calming effects of meditation and yoga offers other lasting and remarkable health benefits beyond heart health as well. Emotional well-being and mental acuity are both side effects of meditation and relaxation therapy. A decline in stress levels resulting from mediation has a measurable anti-inflammatory effect, as well, lowering one’s chances of arthritis, heart disease and asthma.

The most remarkable and lasting health benefits of meditation and yoga, in addition to improving cholesterol and high blood pressure, are more minute. Benefits such as stress reduction, improved quality of sleep, proven and improved cardiovascular function, and  heightened immune system.  Meditation helps yoga practitioners (called yogis) accomplish more when practiced regularly. Studies have show that committing to a yoga regimen is not only conducive to better heart health, but also does wonders for focus, balance, depth perception, and full body awareness.

Yoga can be a significant form of complementary medicine when used to supplement other modes of alternative therapy, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or herbal medicine, as well as on it’s own. Meditation can be performed anywhere, at anytime, at no cost, and takes many forms. Yoga, breathing exercises, chanting or focused meditation are only a few of the natural methods those who meditate can employ to achieve better heart health, a greater sense of self-awareness, calm and control in life.

By Mariah Beckman

Washington Post
Medpage Today

2 Responses to "Yoga for Heart Health"

  1. Mariah Beckman   June 26, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    That is a wonderful suggestion, Celeste, thank you. There are a lot of really great resources available for people who are on the fence about yoga, including this YouTube instructor, who my busy younger sister says is a really great resource for beginners and offers her courses free.

    I’m familiar with meditationSHIFT, and have included that link here as well for readers interested in checking out your suggestion. I have friends who say the program is great, and worth the very minimal cost of $21 for the three-week, at-home course.

    Thanks again for contributing, Celeste!

  2. Celeste   June 26, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Wonderful article. Ever since I started practicing yoga and meditation, I just FEEL healthier and happier. It’s great and I think everyone should at least try one or both, since they are definitely closely linked, as pointed out in the article. Google “meditationSHIFT”- they’ve got a great self-study course.


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