With February upon us, we’re channeling our energy and consciously shifting our focus towards promoting good heart health. After all, this month is officially Heart Health Month and conveniently dedicates an entire day to celebrating the love that fills our hearts: Valentine’s Day!
But aside from our love for others, what about love for ourselves—self-love?
Too many of us are allowing stress, anxiety, poor diets and lack of physical activity affect our lives—all of which are key contributors to heart disease and stroke (currently affecting 1.6 million Canadians).
The good news is that we can make conscious decisions and simple lifestyle changes to avoid such damage. Mindful breathing techniques, intentional movement, and meditation are 3 simple ways that one can help promote good heart health. Yoga actually encompasses all three of these recommendations, as well as encouraging self-love (the most important kind of love). Also? It’s suitable for anyone, at any skill level.
Here’s our summary of the three ways yoga directly contributes to good heart health:
Yoga is built on the foundation of intentional movement, which is very important for good heart health. The various poses and postures help to stretch, strengthen, and tone your muscles. You establish balance and stability while improving circulation and reducing inflammation.
Studies have shown that people who practice yoga combined with other forms of movement are more likely to stick to their exercise routine.
Yoga includes dedicated time for meditation and breathing techniques. Focusing on slow, deep breaths activates our parasympathetic nervous system and induces a state of relaxation, which helps to release stress or anxiety that has been harboured deep within body. As you enter a state of quiet calmness, your blood pressure lowers and your heart rate settles into a peaceful rhythm.
Hatha is a popular form of yoga we practice which is great for beginners–it’s a more gentle and slow form. Hatha would also be recommended for anyone recovering from a heart condition as part of a rehabilitation and strengthening program. But we don’t just practice hatha here at Parallel Yoga–see HERE for the complete list of classes we offer.
Most yoga classes end with a few minutes of meditation, often done through a pose called Savasana, which entails lying flat on your back with your eyes closed. Meditation quiets the nervous system and eases stress and anxiety or depression—all contributors to serious cardiovascular diseases.
Feel calm and at peace by quieting your mind and creating a stress-free environment, letting your body work for you, instead of against. Be one with every single beat of your heart and every single breath you take.
For your mind, heart, body and soul, explore the benefits of yoga. Your risk of heart disease and stroke can to be avoided, and we want to help spread that message. If you want to learn more about how you can improve your heart health, visit the website for the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.
For our class schedule or to learn more about the benefits of yoga, please feel free to visit our website or call our studio. With all our hearts, we welcome you home.