Healthy eating habits, exercise routine and stress management are some of the major factors resulting in good heart health. A regular practice of Yoga can help establish all these factors.

“A large number of studies show that yoga benefits many aspects of cardiovascular health,” says Hugh Calkins, M.D. , director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Johns Hopkins. Exercises that gets your heart rate pumping are superb to improve cardiovascular health. Eating  healthy and Managing stress are critical to  overall heart health. 

Yoga is not just the activity that promotes flexibility and balance. But this is a mind-body practice also includes asanas or postures, breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. Together, these practices can lead to immense improvements in factors connected with cardiovascular health, such as lower blood pressure, better sleep, and less artery-damaging inflammation. Yoga improves the circulation of blood, improves strength, flexibility and overall stamina but also has the ability to relax the body and mind which plays a major role in heart health. 

How Yoga helps to manage Stress?

Hrvard Health Publication states that ‘When the body senses danger, it starts its fight-or-flight response. Your nervous system releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breathing quickens, and your senses sharpen. But Chronic stress is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. 

Yoga helps to relax the body and mind. The deep breathing and mental focus of yoga can offset these stress symptoms. A regular yoga practice cultivates the “relaxation response,” enabling you to be less reactive to stress and intense emotions, Dr. Khalsa, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says. In a 2012 survey from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, more than 80% of yoga enthusiasts said the practice decreased their stress. The relaxing, meditative aspect of yoga can build up your emotional resilience, helping you to stay calmer during times of stress. A single 90-minute session of yoga can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to one study.

Yoga as exercise routine-

John Hopkins Medicine states that ‘exercise improves circulation, which results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. Active forms of yoga, such as power or Vinyasa yoga, are listed as examples of moderate-intensity exercise in the federal exercise guidelines. Even less vigorous  forms of yoga boost muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. All these things are vital for overall physical fitness and well-being. In a study conducted at NCCIH, nearly two-thirds participants reported that yoga motivated them to exercise more regularly.

Yoga to cultivate healthy eating-

What we eat, not only influences our physical well being, but also our emotions and thoughts. With the practice of yoga, one becomes mindful of eating food which makes you feel light, energetic and enthusiastic. Not just the right kind of food, it is vital to eat the proper quantity of food at the right time. Overindulging leads to lethargy while under eating will not provide enough nourishment.

 “You’re more aware of the positive feelings you enjoy when you eat healthy foods and exercise. You’re also more likely to notice the negative effects of eating junk food and sitting on a couch all day,” says Dr. Khalsa, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. And making healthy lifestyle changes is perhaps the most important thing you can do to prevent heart disease.

Yoga for Heart-

Beyond off-loading stress, practicing yoga may help lower blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels, as well as heart rate, making it a useful lifestyle intervention. One study has shown that blood measurements and waist circumference—a marker for heart disease—improved in middle-aged adults with metabolic syndrome who practiced yoga for three months. Yoga also encourages deep, slow breathing, which helps lower blood pressure by an average of five points after a few months of regular practice, research suggests

Another study has shown patients with heart failure who went through an eight-week yoga program showed improvement in exercise capacity and quality of life. They also had lower blood levels of markers for inflammation, which contributes to heart disease.

Yoga asanas good for heart health-

There are specific asanas in yoga for heart problems. Begins with simple asanas, gradually leading to postures that require more stamina. The process is gentle and rejuvenating.

  1. Standing poses like Tadasana, Vrikshasana, trikonasana, upsurges breathing, relieves tension, and enhances blood circulation. They also help in strengthening the vertebral column and the heart.
  2. Backbends like BHujangasana, Setu bandhasana, dhanurasana, not only helps in getting rid of belly fat but also stretches the chest cavity and invigorates the heart muscles.
  3. Inversions for heart health like Adho mukha svanasana, Forward fold, Sarvangasana  and even svasana are relaxing for nervous system initiating parasympathetic nervous system, which eventually stimulate other bodily processes like sleep, digestion, respiration, and tissue rejuvenation.

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