Heart Health

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What Should Yoga Teachers Know About Students With Heart Problems?

If students have a heart condition, you should encourage them to speak with their doctor first to ensure that yoga will benefit them, rather than increase their risk. You want them to be healthy, and sometimes even starting slow can aggravate the heart. By getting the okay from the doctor, you are ensured that your students are going to be okay during exercises, but you are also protecting yourself if a student were ever to have a heart attack in your class.

Therapeutic Yoga for Heart Health

Using therapeutic yoga poses involves primarily those that open the chest and shoulders. These poses are usually those that are standing or bending, and they should be held for extended periods of time with slow, deep breathing to allow for more oxygen intake. Standing and bending poses also help tone cardiac muscle. The mountain pose, the tree pose, and the cat stretch pose can be used therapeutically to greatly benefit circulation and help to prevent the onset or further development of heart disease.

About Yoga and Heart Rate Variability

In addition to limited research on the benefits of Yoga, scientists have studied the effects of other techniques, such as meditation and biofeedback, on heart rate variability. Some studies show that an action as simple as placing our hand on our heart and feeling a state of gratitude can aid in stabilizing the autonomic nervous system and regulating the heart beat.