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14 July 2009

Yoga and Meditation for a Healthy Hearth

According to a study from Yale University School of Medicine, people who practice yoga and meditation at least three times per week reduce blood pressure, pulse and most importantly their risk for heart disease.

After a six-week yoga-meditation program, healthy individuals improved the blood vessel function of the heart by 17%. However, study participants already diagnosed with heart disease had an astounding near 70% improvement in blood vessel function (1).

Another study of 71 participants diagnosed with coronary disease links yoga to the reversibility of heart disease.  Half of the participants added yoga to their medical care, the other half continued with their medical care only.  

Those who practiced yoga had a decrease in serum cholesterol levels of about 23% versus 4% for controls.  In about 46% of the yoga participants, the progression in atherosclerosis was halted versus 33% for controls.  And in about 43% of yoga participants, disease regressed versus 31% for controls. Significant improvements in anxiety levels were also noticed in yoga practitioners (2).

That's just one small study, but it is significant because it included a comparison to controls.  A review of many more studies finds that overall, yoga does produce beneficial physical changes that are measurable, including lowered blood pressure and improved glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and lipid profiles (3), all of which should lower one's disease risks.

Research continues to link stress as one of the most significant risk factors for the development of heart disease. Yoga and meditation have long been known as a way to relieve stress. But these studies confirm it also translates into reduced disease risks.

References
Pack, P. Yoga Reduces Heart Disease Risk. www.webmd.com.
Yogendra J. et al. JAPI. 2004;52:283-9.
Innes KE and Vincent HK. eCAM. 2006; doi:10.1093/ecam/nel 103.

 

 

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In Section: Mind and body - This article belongs to category: Hatha yoga

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Nutritional content tables

Nutritional content tables    Find out how much calories, protein, carbs, cholesterol, vitamins and minerals your food contains.

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