The Yoga-Heart Connection
A growing body of research from Johns Hopkins shows that practicing yoga can lower stress and help those recovering from heart events. Now may be the time to take up this gentle form of exercise.
Exercise that revs up your heart rate isn’t the only kind of physical activity that can help prevent or manage heart disease. The calming exercise of yoga is good for the heart, too.
“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. “There’s been a major shift in the last five years or so in the number of cardiologists and other professionals recognizing that these benefits are real.”
Yoga is a mind-body activity that involves moving through a series of body poses and breathing exercises that can improve strength, flexibility, balance and relaxation. Dozens of different formats, or practices, such as hatha, anusara, ashtanga and many others, emphasize different focuses, such as toning, strength training or meditation.