Yoga is commonly associated with meditation and relaxation, but did you know it may also benefit your heart? Below are some of the heart healthy benefits to yoga:
- Emotional stress can have enormous impact on your health. Stress can cause your body to release a hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol can lead to an increase in blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. Yoga can help reduce stress by promoting relaxation and controlled breathing techniques.
- Yoga may reduce your risk of heart disease by improving your metabolism, which can help improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Yoga may also lower your blood pressure by improving artery relaxation and lowering stress levels.
- Sleep is critical to your heart health. Studies have shown that poor sleep habits may lead to an increase in blood pressure. The breathing and meditation techniques during yoga can help slow your heart rate and may help lower blood pressure. Practicing breathing and meditation techniques will also help prepare your body for a good night’s sleep.
There are many forms of yoga. Some styles focus on meditation and relaxation, while others are fast-paced and designed to help you break a sweat. Below are some of the most common forms of yoga:
- Hatha Yoga: This is one of the most popular styles of yoga and often used in fitness centers. This style of yoga typically covers body awareness, breathing, and meditation.
- Kundalini Yoga: This is a more spiritually-focused style of yoga and encourages meditation. This style is not physically demanding and it’s often recommended for stress relief.
- Ashtanga Yoga: Known as the “yoga for warriors”, it’s one of the most demanding styles of yoga. Ashtanga focuses on strength and flexibility and is recommended for people looking to lose weight.
- Bikram Yoga: This is similar to hot yoga. A room is heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit during a Bikram yoga session. A person can burn as much as 600 calories due to the extreme heat of the room.
Yoga can be practised as a group or individually. If you’re thinking about taking a yoga class, you may want to consult with your physician to determine the best form of yoga for your mind and body.