Yoga has been identified as a very beneficial form of exercise, stress reduction & general fitness for many years.
Now more recently, scientists with Harvard Medical school have been studying & identifying Yoga s benefits for heart health. According to researcher Dr. Sat B. Singh Khalsa, Professor of Medicine, a regular yoga practice of 3-5 X s / week @ 40 minutes each, has shown to DECREASE blood pressure, decrease inflammation in the arteries & improve sleep quality in a broad cross section of students. He found that a regular yoga practice of 3-5 Xs/week resulted in;
- Improvement in overall physical fitness
- Enhanced Mind Body Awareness
- Reversal of ” Fight or Flight” hormone response to ” Rest & Digest”
Benefits In A Few Weeks
These benefits were realized within a few weeks of yoga practice. Their research indicated moderate intensity level classes (beginner- intermediate level yoga classes) , were appropriate for these benefits to be realized.
All forms of yoga, build muscle strength, flexibility, balance & spacial awareness, BUT the less intense forms of yoga, showed the largest benefits from the deeper breathing, which released emotional stress, decreased heart rate by 3-5 beats, & allowed students to re gain normal, deeper cycles of sleep. This in turn allowed participants to enjoy other aspects of their lives better, which they didn’t before because of their higher levels of stress hormones, indigestion of nutrients & disconnection with taking care of themselves daily.
In a 2013 study, from the National Center for Complimentary / Integrative Health, yoga students who had been practicing for an average of 3 years, said yoga had changed their lives by removing daily stress, encouraging them to exercise ( in ANY form) more regularly, & improved their MIND BODY AWARENESS”, which led them to changing their diets & what foods they were eating.
Dr. Dean Ornish, began studying yoga & its potential benefits for long term heart health back in the 1990 s. Dr. Ornish was so impressed with his findings that he developed his own program (Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program), which included yoga practice, & lifestyle changes. This program became so successful that it was finally accepted for reimbursement by Medicare in 2010 for participants who followed his program.
Written by Richard Kepski – Rich is our newest Personal Trainer and is also a Yoga Instructor