6 Heart-Health Benefits of Yoga

A six-part series from everydayhealth.com by Ashley Welch and reviewed by Michael Cutler, DO, PhD.

Heart Health Benefit #1: Yoga Can Help Keep Your Heart in Shape

Yoga comes with significant health benefits, including increased flexibility, weight reduction, and improvements in energy and mood. But did you know that it can also benefit your heart? 

The practice of yoga, which dates back to ancient India, has been the focus of a number of clinical studies, and evidence shows that all those Sun Salutations and Downward Dogs may contribute to a healthier heart. For example, people with the irregular heart rhythm atrial fibrillation had significantly lower blood pressure and heart rates after they practiced 30 minutes of light yoga weekly for 12 weeks, according to a study published in March 2016 in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. Yoga also significantly improved their mental health and quality of life, the researchers reported.

If you have a heart condition, speak to your doctor about which level of yoga may be right for you in addition to your usual therapy. And if you're a beginner or have health concerns, speak with the yoga instructor prior to class. Your instructor can offer tips and modifications so you can get the most out of the session. 

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