It’s no secret that yoga is excellent for strengthening and improving flexibility, but many would be surprised to know it is also great for heart health.

Yoga is an ancient system of poses and breathing techniques that has gone from an activity with a few adherents in the United States a few decades ago to a mainstream workout today. This no-impact workout is known for its ability to use the body’s own weight to improve muscle capacity, flexibility, and balance.

Many people choose yoga for its ability to reduce stress. This relaxation benefits the mind and the body. Anxiety can narrow arteries, which increases blood pressure. Cardiac care patients often experience depression or increased stress. Doctors often prescribe yoga to combat this.

Performing yoga movements is a workout. Like other forms of exercise, regular practice can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

Yoga practice usually includes a mindfulness component. This awareness leads yoga practitioners to adopt other healthy habits, such as consuming a balanced diet or stopping smoking. Of course, these actions boost heart health.

Yoga is an anaerobic system with postures, positions, and breathing techniques that people of all skill levels can perform. Give it a try this American Heart Month.

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