Guard Your Heart | Yoga Health

Guard Your Heart | Yoga Health

Yogis know the poses that “open” the heart, but did you know that regular practice can also help protect your ticker over the long term?

In honor of National Wear Red Day, the American Heart Association’s campaign to raise awareness of heart disease (the#1 killer of women), here are 5 ways that yoga keeps your heart going strong.

And don’t forget to wear red yoga pants on Friday to spread the word!

1. Love how you feel after class? That’s your stress melting away.

Stress may affect behaviors and factors that are proven to increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating, according to the American Heart Association. Chronic stress may also cause some people to drink too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure and may damage the artery walls.

A regular yoga practice, on the other hand, is likely to calm you down, making you less likely to lean on caffeine, sugar, fatty foods or alcohol to “numb out,” says Hazel Patterson, Urban Zen Integrative Yoga Therapist and teacher trainer at YogaWorks in Los Angeles.

“Moving with the breath, in other words linking expanding movements with the inhales, and contracting or softening movements with the exhales, starts to create a dynamic which calms the nerves and moves that stress energy out of the body,” she explains.

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