Benefits of Yoga for Heart HealthPosted on 06 Apr 15:34
You've probably heard that routinely practicing the art of yoga results in a multitude of health benefits, especially increasing the overall flexibility in your body, but what about the positive changes happening that you can't see, or maybe not even feel?
How Does Yoga Help The Heart?
When maneuvering yourself during yoga, blood begins to flow through your body better, bringing much-needed oxygen to your muscles, connective tissue, organs, and more. To put that in perspective, compare proper blood circulation in your body to well-oiled gears, such as the motor oil needed in the engine of your vehicle. Without it, the engine ceases to work, and when it's running low, it functions poorly.
On a cellular level, the increased blood circulation decreases inflammation throughout the body including the heart, lowers blood pressure, steadies heart rate, improves respiratory function and increases lung capacity. All of those things, especially combined, help lead to an improved cardiovascular health.
Additionally, there is a boost in certain blood cells due to the improved blood circulation, which helps to thin out the blood by causing platelets to become less sticky, removing certain proteins that thicken the blood and cause blood clots which would otherwise lead to stroke and heart attacks.
But it doesn't just stop there. Yoga is well known for it's relaxing, meditative properties. The majority of people who incorporate yoga into their routine experience a decrease in anxiety, depression, and stress, which are all contributing factors to poor heart health. By eliminating these risks, along with improving the function of your body on a cellular level, the risk of heart attack or stroke can be decreased.
Improving Flexibility Decreases Body Pains
Our body is comprised primarily of connective tissue which is the "glue" that holds our body together and is found in our organs, muscles, joints, and even teeth and eyes. Everything in our body is connected through series of ligaments, muscles, tendons, etc.. For example, if the muscles that help keep your hips in place are too tight, it will pull on the surrounding connective tissues, likely causing pain in the hips and lower back. This problem can lead to even more painful occurrences, such as the inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which can produce debilitating pain from the buttocks to feet.
By gently stretching your body through yoga, you loosen up the connective tissues and open the body, allowing the joints and muscles to move more freely. Using the example above, this would lessen the stiffness of the muscles that connect over your hips, back, and legs, allowing all of those joints to move more freely without such restraint from tense muscles. Using yoga to stretch the muscles creates a chain of events that will eventually lead to a decrease in pain throughout the body.
A Body In Motion Stays In Motion
The healthy benefits that yoga provides linger on long after the exercise has been completed, so long as you continue to incorporate yoga moves into your daily or weekly lifestyle. Muscles that are routinely stretched will eventually lengthen and allow our joints to move freely, promoting blood circulation and cellular repair, improving cardiovascular health, and decreasing chronic pain. As the burden of our everyday stress and anxiety are lifted from our shoulders, a sense of well-being returns, leading to a happier life.