Happy Healthy Heart Awareness month. It is no coincidence that Valentine’s Day and Heart Awareness month fall in the same month. Valentine’s Day can and should be viewed as not just a trendy day to remind you to love the ones you have in your life—but to take time to make them and yourself aware of Healthy Routines to build a healthy heart. Not only does the ancient practice of yoga help deepen flexibility, build your lung capacity with breath-work, and build muscular strength— it is now proven to have an impact on your Cardiovascular System.
A review of yoga and cardiovascular disease published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology indicates that yoga may help lower heart disease risk as much as conventional exercise, such as brisk walking. The study shows that all levels of yoga practitioners, from beginner to advanced, saw changes in their health from losing weight to lowering blood pressure. Dr. Gloria Yeh, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the review article explains, “yoga is unique because it incorporates physical activity, breathing, and meditation.”
All types of yoga from slow flows to power vinyasa classes help stretch and strengthen muscles which can lower blood sugar from the increased flow of insulin. The yoga practice of deepening your breath past the rib cage and into the pit of the stomach also further deepens the flow of oxygen which can reduce blood pressure. Most yoga practices have moments of stillness and calm which can encourage our stress hormones like cortisol to decrease. We live in a world of high stress and constant movement- we are always on the move to the NEXT activity, role, text, call, or event. Taking moments to pause and find stillness releases the stress and tension in the body giving the heart a sense of calm.
As you start to consider what is next with your healthy routine, it’s important to give the body time to feel benefits from the inside out. In the society we live in we put so much into our imagine on the outside: what the physical body looks like, what our hair is doing, what might our social channels think of this thing or that…instead let’s all pause and take time to remember the Golden Rule: it is what is in the inside that matters most. Take time during this season of “love” to incorporate beauty from the inside-out. Spend extra effort, energy, and time on yoga and your other heart healthy activities to achieve your 2018 wellness goals.
Chrissy & Coco