Yoga And Your Heart


There's no time like the present--a great excuse to focus on your heart health and make some positive lifestyle changes to support it.


These changes can include eating more fruits and veggies, setting (and keeping to) a gym schedule, or trying a heart healthy acupuncture treatment. But did you know that adding yoga to your routine could also make a huge difference to your heart?


New research out of the Netherlands-based on 3,000 participants-shows that practicing yoga lowers heart disease risk factors, such as obesity, blood pressure, and cholesterol. The ancient exercise uses breathing to channel flexibility, focus, and strength.


"Yoga is great because it builds muscle, but it's also about breath work and relaxation. You put yourself from the sympathetic state (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic state (rest and digest)," says Raby Institute Naturopath Katherine Chavez, ND. "You're also feeling in your body, in your muscles, where the tightness is."


Michelle Goebel-Angel, L.Ac., acupuncturist and Chinese medicine specialist at the Raby Institute, adds, "Yoga is a lot of hands and feet to the Earth. It's about pulling down the energy."


Researchers aren't sure exactly why or how yoga has such a powerful effect on the heart. It could be the practice's calming effects. It reduces stress, which has been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure.


Yoga also brings more oxygen-rich blood flow to the muscles, as people focus on specialized breathing techniques throughout their practice.


And not only is yoga great for the heart, but it builds the muscles, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least two days of muscle-building exercises per week-so check out a class near you.

"Dr. Raby is one big ball of positive energy! She is very inspiring and upbeat. I feel good when I leave her office - I feel empowered and encouraged."
- Raby Institute patient