Namaste: Yoga and Your Heart

By: Alere Staff

The practice of yoga is becoming increasingly popular and accessible in the United States and for good reason. The history of yoga is rooted in ancient India when the practice was used to increase tranquility and spiritual insight. Americans today who enjoy yoga are realizing those benefits as well as improved flexibility and relaxation. Recent research has shown that practicing yoga may also improve heart health.

Yoga and Heart Health

While the mind-body practice of yoga shows evidence of being beneficial in managing and improving cardiovascular risk factors, doctors warn it does not replace or count toward the American Heart Association’s recommended 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days per week. Combined with a heart-healthy lifestyle though, yoga has shown to be effective in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In yoga practice, the body is slowly stretched into various positions while focusing on breathing and meditation. This routine increases physical, mental and emotional well-being which contributes to overall improved health and stress reduction. Specifically, several studies have shown improvement in body mass index, blood pressure and lipid levels. These improvements were even more significant when yoga was used in combination with medication.

Yoga can be an excellent alternative choice of exercise for people who want to enjoy an activity that is low cost, easy to do anywhere and ultimately relaxing, while improving risk factors of cardiovascular illnesses. As with any new exercise program, it is advised you check with your doctor before getting started. Namaste!