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Heart Healthy Benefits of Yoga

By Mary Kyle Blogger
Heart Disease related image Photo: Getty Images

There are many different types so if you’re new to yoga, it’s important to select the class that’s right for you. For those concerned with heart health, Cunningham recommended selecting a trained cardiac medical yoga instructor to maximize the benefits to your heart.

Despite the fact that some types of yoga, such as Ashtanga, can be quite vigorous, the American Heart Association does not consider yoga to meet the requirements for weekly physical activity so yoga should be treated as an addition to your lifestyle and not a substitution for your regular workout.

Sources:

Yoga and Heart Health. American Heart Association. 02 Feb 2012. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/StartWalki...

Inderscience Publishers (2009, November 9). Yoga boosts heart health, new research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 5, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091109121216.htm

Deepak Chopra, M.D. Weekly Health Tip: Yoga’s Health Benefits. The Huffington Post. 18 Jul 2011.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/yoga-heart-health_b_900621.html

Reviewed February 6, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Add a Comment6 Comments

World Vitae Blogger

Flowing with breath helps to reduce anxiety thus reducing blood pressure--pranayama (breath control) has the same effect. Inversions (downdog, forward fold, headstand, shoulderstand) require the circulatory system work harder and in unusual directions thus strengthening the heart and associated systems.

June 15, 2012 - 11:14am
Mary Kyle Blogger (reply to World Vitae)

I completely agree with you - yoga is a wonderful activity on many levels with many benefits. I used to work in a pretty stressful high-tech job and they actually brought a yoga instructor on campus at lunch twice a week. It was always full to overflowing!

July 8, 2012 - 9:45pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

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June 15, 2012 - 8:03am
Mary Kyle Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Thanks so much...I love writing and am always so glad when a reader takes the time to let me know that I'm on the right track and the info helped.  Please keep reading! Again, THANK YOU! Mary 

July 8, 2012 - 9:42pm
Mary Kyle Blogger

Hi Sondra.... Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience about yoga!  I was introduced to yoga a number of years ago when I was still working in a high stress high tech job. They allowed a yoga instructor to come on campus twice a week to teach a class over lunch. My girlfriend and I signed up simply so we'd be able to take a break during lunch! What started as an endeavor simply to be able to get away from the desk for an hour, turned into a real joy.

Like you, I was really surprised that the AHA doesn't consider it "physical activity." I certainly always felt like I'd had a good workout after our yoga sessions so this was a surprise to me as well.  The AHA site didn't provide a criteria of why they took this position so it's a mystery.

Again, thanks so much for sharing!

Mary

February 8, 2012 - 9:10pm
SondraBloxam

Thank you for sharing this! As a regular yoga practitioner I love spreading the word about the benefits for both mind and body!! The HRV fact was great to learn as well.

I find it interesting that the AHA doesn't consider yoga to meet the requirements for weekly physical activity. I take hot power yoga classes 3-4 times a week, and I surely don't see it as an addition to my lifestyle, but part of the fabric that is my lifestyle. The specific type of yoga that I do, is vinyasa yoga in a heated room (95 degrees with 45% humidity) which is a flowing series of sun salutations, lunges, twists, balance postures, backbends, core strengthening, hip openers and inversions often referred to as Power Yoga. Designed to build core strength and flexibility while still maintaining focus on a meditative practice.

I do think that it's valuable to do multiple types of physical activity, still I may check with the AHA just to see their research angle on this as well :)

February 6, 2012 - 10:01pm
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