I’ve long-known the stretching and breath work of yoga is good for your heart. But research from the University of Kansas confirms the benefits of yoga for heart health. What they found is that just three yoga classes a week can cut episodes of atrial fibrillation (A-Fib)—by half! This is huge news since atrial fibrillation affects roughly 2.2 million Americans.
To get their findings, the researchers compared atrial fibrillation episodes and quality of life among 49 patients. For the first three months, participants engaged in the physical activity of their choice. Then, for the next three months they engaged in a supervised program of yoga for heart health, which included meditation, breathing exercises, and relaxation. The yoga experience was new to all the participants.
The participants wore heart rate monitors to measure their heartbeats throughout the trial—and yoga for heart health beat other forms of exercise, cutting episodes of atrial fibrillation by 50%.
Yoga had a significant impact in helping to control heartbeat and arrhythmia episodes. What’s even more interesting is that the participants found that yoga drastically improved their quality of life, and significantly reduced anxiety and depression.
Plus, yoga for heart health—which is something I practice regularly myself—has other benefits as well. It helps you stay flexible and strong, and reduces stress, high blood pressure, and sympathetic nervous system overdrive in the body. It also improves heart rate variability (HRV), which is the measure of the variation in time between your heart beats. The conscious breathing techniques used in yoga have a calming and balancing effect on HRV, enhancing your cardiovascular health.
Now, it’s your turn: Have you tried yoga for heart health?