Heart patients can reap the health benefits of yoga and even make a profit from it. Yoga, which has been shown to help people with cardiac issues, can lower their blood sugar.
Yoga and the Heart.
A study published in the Indian Health Journal found that yoga was associated with significant improvements in blood flow, cholesterol levels and other cardiac rehabilitation procedures.
It is important to choose a safe yoga practice that suits your physical abilities. This is where restorative yoga comes in, rather than the more strenuous power or vinyasa.
Restorative yoga, which is gentler, encourages using props such as pillows and blankets for relaxation. This activates your parasympathetic nervous systems (the “rest-and-restore” part of your autonomic nervous system) to stimulate your body’s processes for recovery and restoration, such as digestion and tissue repair.
The best way to get the health benefits from yoga will depend on where you are in your heart health. The American Heart Association suggests that yoga can be a preventative measure for those at greater risk for a heart attack.
Yoga – Kick-Starting Recovery
People can use yoga to heal after a cardiac event. This is especially true for those who may be suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression. You may notice a difference in your mood after one class.
1. Talk to your physician
Certain yoga poses can be more difficult than others. Talk to your doctor before you begin. Notify your doctor if you have had any surgeries or physical therapy.
2. Avoid Certain Poses
Some yoga poses may not be suitable for those who have had a heart attack. Yoga Journal states that some poses that can be dangerous for the heart, such as the handstand and supported headstand, wheel, and low and high lunge, may need to change.
3. Allow Recovery Time
Even if you did headstands before the cardiac event and could adjust to more comfortable positions, your body will still be in recovery mode. It might surprise you to see how difficult poses that were easy previously are now. Do not push yourself. Instead, build slowly and start simple.
Begin with a mantra. Then, you can try a few simple, relaxing poses instead of rushing through vinyasa flows. Take deep, long breaths and lie on your back to raise your heart rate. You can also repeat the mantra you choose in your head and remind yourself of how strong, healthy, and capable you truly are.
5. Notice Pain Points
This is not the mantra of “No pain, No gain”.
Keep track of any pains you experience during your yoga practice so your doctor can be informed. You may have to modify your practice. You may have been competitive before your heart event, but now is not a time to push your limits.
6. Have fun!
After a cardiac event, your main focus should be on healing your body. Take the time to slow down and learn — or discover for the first time — which poses bring you joy. Try out props, music and maybe even a new mat. You can create a space that speaks to you by adding natural light or lighting scented candles.
Remember: Happiness and health are directly linked, so adding joy to your life is a worthwhile investment. A positive outlook can help you control your weight, lower blood pressure, maintain healthy blood sugars, and reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Start a gratitude journal to complement your gratitude practice!