Yoga is a Gentle Solution to Good Health, Breathe
More Americans are practicing Yoga than ever before, experts say the reason is that it has practical health benefits.
More than 36-M people in the US regularly engage in the practice, according to the Yoga in America Study 2016, conducted by Yoga Journal and the Yoga Alliance. That’s up from 20.4-M practitioners recorded in a Y 2012 survey.
Yogis spend $16-B on classes, clothing, and accessories, that compared to $10-B 4 years ago.
“One of the main reasons Yoga is so beneficial is that it can be a cardiovascular activity as efficient as walking, running or aerobics in improving heart fitness,” says Dr. Delia Chiaramonte, assistant professor and medical specialist with the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“Since many people are unable to participate in traditional forms of exercise, Yoga is the perfect gentle solution for cardiovascular health.”
Dr. Chiaramonte said that technology provides many benefits to modern life, but also brings significant downsides
.“Once upon a time people would be ‘done’ with work at a certain time but now, for many people, the work day never ends,” she explains. “The pace of life has sped up and we don’t have the down time to distress and regroup which takes its toll on our heart.
“I think Yoga fulfills this need buy giving us the time to slow down, breathe, focus inward and reconnect to the body.”
Breathing is a crucial Key to Yoga’s heart-healthy benefits.
Dr. Arthur Guyton, a leading American physiologist and expert on heart disease believed that heart disease and stroke are caused by a lack of oxygen at the cellular level. Heart disease patients consistently use shallow, chest breathing instead of the deep diaphragmatic breathing is taught in Yoga.
This type of breathing massages the heart with each breathe and helps pump fluid and nutrients into the vascular system as well as eliminates toxic waste.
A Dutch study compared two groups of heart attack patients. The first group was taught simple, diaphragmatic breathing while the second group received no training. The group that learned how to breathe deeply had no further heart attacks while seven of the 12 members of the 2nd group had 2nd heart attacks over the next 2 years.
Another recent study, published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, showed that after 6 months of Yoga practice, participants had decreased levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL “bad” cholesterol, while increasing their HDL “good” cholesterol.
In another very interesting study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, effective smoking cessation and Yoga were associated with the greatest 10 year reduction in cardiovascular risk over such interventions such as following a Mediterranean diet and walking.
For the highest risk patients, Yoga was associated with a 16.7% decrease in cardiovascular risk.
Yoga lowers blood pressure, according to research published this year in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
Of the 3 groups: 1 did Yoga, another followed a program of health education and walking, and a 3rd did Yoga and followed a healthy lifestyle. The yoga practitioners showed the greatest reduction in blood pressure readings.
The American Heart Association says that in addition to the physiological benefits the meditation component in Yoga may also have a positive effect on lowering high blood pressure.
Stress, anxiety and depression are associated with cardiovascular disease and yoga may be helpful to manage these emotions.
It is essential to focus on breathing throughout the day so that the body responds to this stimulus by relaxing and understanding it is not in a life-threatening situation.
Gentle Yoga is can also play an integral role in recovery from a heart attack as well as preventing one. Heart attacks can often leave a victim feeling split, broken and vulnerable.
Yoga, which comes from the Sanskrit meaning Union, can help reconnect the mind and body.
Breathe, Forgive, Live, Help make Peace
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