CRA Wellness Blog

Yoga Makes Your Heart Happy!

February 21st, 2018 by Amanda Erickson

Yoga seems to be one of those activities that you either love or loathe. For those who don’t seem to know a whole lot about it, they might describe it as relaxing breathing techniques or weird poses. There are those who are only there for relaxation and flexibility improvement.

Though these are extremely important, the most beneficial aspects of yoga are actually  muscle growth and heart health.

Yoga is by no means easy. It requires a lot of concentration, strength, and flexibility; but the benefits far exceed the “torturous”, hard work you have to put in. American Heart Association quotes Dr. M. Mala Cunningham. “Yoga can help lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, improve respiratory function and heart rate, and boost circulation and muscle tone. It can also improve your overall well-being while offering strength-building benefits.”

Did you read that correctly? Yoga is supportive to the heart, which is the hardest working muscle of your body and should be treated with lots of love and care.

Every day in your life brings some form of stress. Not all stress is bad! In fact, we need stress to push ourselves to do the things we don’t want to do (like taxes). It’s also useful in identifying dangers. Without it, we wouldn’t survive.

Too much stress, though, is bad. It’s taxing on the body and can lead to anxiety, depression, and other health issues. Excessive amounts of stress does the exact opposite of what you want for you heart. It releases adrenaline and raises your heart rate, which in turn can raise your blood pressure. If you remain in a stressed state for too long, your body starts to break down. Go Red For Women states that this could lead to damage of the artery walls and weaken the immune system.

In order to keep stress down to healthy levels, yoga is one solution. Harvard Health writes about a relaxation response, which has the opposite effect of a stress response. It was first developed in the 1970s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson. Yoga is said to be one of the many techniques that can achieve this response!

If you research and experience yoga on your own, you’ll notice it’s all about the breathing technique and pushing unwanted thoughts out of your mind. How else do you expect to be able to hold the eagle pose (Garudasana) for 30 seconds?

So yoga is more than just impressing your friends with your new ability to do a handstand or stretch your body out. It helps you control your stress and in turn help lower your blood pressure to keep your heart happy and healthy.

If you’re new to yoga or already a yoga guru, try diffusing Heart Harmony® essential oil during your workout. The 17 oil blend assists in releasing stress and anxiety, which is beneficial to your heart. Apply a couple drops topically to your wrists or over your heart so the support continues throughout the day. Bonus: it smells amazing.