Those of us who practice yoga know first-hand its wide-ranging benefits: from increased mindfulness, to decreased stress, to reduction in pain, to weight loss. Western medical research is finally catching up.
A review of thirty-seven studies appeared in the December 16, 2014 issue of the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The report was co-authored by Dr. Gloria Yeh, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The effect of yoga practice on heart disease risk factors was impressive. On average, study participants who practiced yoga:
- Lost five pounds
- Decreased blood pressure by 5 points
- Lowered their LDL cholesterol levels 12 points.
Researchers also noted the benefits of breath work and meditation, two often-overlooked yoga tools. Participants varied in age and ranged from physically healthy individuals to those with significant health conditions. The styles of yoga practiced were diverse, though researchers recommend styles that allow for modification. Yoga was also found to be a powerful tool in cardiac rehabilitation programs.
More information on the study can be found the February 28, 2017 article in the Harvard Health Publications blog.
Continue practicing, and go yoga!
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