Yoga can be a great workout or a way to relax; there are numerous styles to choose from.
“Yoga is a good way to reconnect mind, body and spirit — to allow someone the resilience to face whatever stressors or obstacles come throughout the day,” says Poulina Uddin, MD, a cardiologist at Scripps Clinic who teaches a weekly vinyasa yoga class for cardiac rehab patients.
If you have prior injuries, have had surgery recently, or have a specific health concern, check with your doctor or yoga instructor to find out which poses to avoid or modify. There are many different yoga styles.
You may need to avoid or modify certain poses for example if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, glaucoma or have sciatica.
Stress and anger can be major risk factors in heart disease. Learning to deal with these negative feelings can help lower the risk and benefit overall wellness.
“In the same way yoga improves strength, flexibility and resilience for the body, it does the same thing for the mind,” says Dr. Uddin.
Better flexibility and balance reduce the risk of falls, especially as we get older. Yoga is a low-impact exercise that offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages.
“It’s a nice way for people to take an inventory of how their body feels overall, a chance to quiet the mind and reset or reconnect that mind-body connection,” Dr. Uddin adds.
High blood pressure or hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease. Studies have shown yoga can help lower blood pressure in people with pre-hypertension or hypertension.
Yoga can also be beneficial for people recovering from a heart attack as part of their cardiac rehabilitation.
It can also help people who are overweight or obese lose weight. Excess weight is another medical problem that increases the risk of heart disease and other health problems.
Once you've found your slowest, deepest breath and mastered the basics of yoga, try stepping up your stretching and strengthening game with one of these alternative varieties.
- Hot Yoga
- Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga
- Beach Yoga
- Alternative Yoga (laughing, goat, baby, etc.)