The connection between yoga meditation and breath techniques and the ability to influence the heart rate has been known to yogis for a long time. New research is catching up and is showing yoga is good for your heart!
Specifically, yoga may be good for a condition called atrial fibrillation (AF). AF is an irregular heart beat where the hearts 2 upper chambers (atria) beat too fast and irregularly. This underlying problem in the hearts electrical circuit can have serious consequences, such as blood clots, stroke or heart failure.
Ongoing research at the University of Kansas Hospital, is looking at the effect of regular yoga practice on irregular heartbeat. Yoga’s ability to influence and change the autonomic nervous system may improve patients control over their heart rate than those who do not do yoga. Stressful situations and emotional moments can trigger the AF patient’s heart to beat more rapidly. Promising results are being seen as researchers are currently monitoring 49 AF episodes while on the yoga regimen vs. regular exercise routines.
“…rigorous practice of yoga can help reduce episodes of irregular heartbeat and improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression often associated with atrial fibrillation. On average, yoga was found to cut patients’ episodes of atrial fibrillation in half and significantly improve quality of life.”
This is the first ever yoga study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and showed yoga can improve quality of life for heart patients – yay! (Lakkireddy et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;():. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2012.11.060).
… this is important because 1 in 3 older adults won’t escape heart problems !
much love from my yoga-healthy heart.
p.s. Huffington Post’s heart-healthy yoga postures to help you with the sit-and-reach tests