With Valentine’s Day upon us, hearts are on our minds. While it may not be likely that you can die of a broken heart, heart disease kills. Heart defects and disease do not respect age, gender, religion, or economic status. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women. The St. Charles community has even been touched by the sudden deaths of teens related to heart disease. So what can we do about it?
A healthy and active lifestyle is the best prevention. Physical activity, stress management, weight management, and simple lifestyle and nutrition choices can make all the difference in keeping our hearts in tip top shape.
Yoga brings about increased physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Increased strength and flexibility are ours to enjoy after just a few classes. Lower blood pressure, increased lung capacity and respiratory function, and improved blood circulation occur right away. Besides these physical aspects, it just “feels good”!
The entire yoga experience addresses mindful breathing, careful and informed movement of our bodies, and addressing ourselves with compassion- something that may be lacking in the rest of our daily routines. Every day we come to yoga practice our body is different, whether we are accomplished yoga students, or just starting the journey.
With yoga, we get out of it what we put into it. Strength improves, flexibility improves, and our ability to return to a peaceful state improves.
The strength we develop helps us to move more efficiently throughout our daily activities, so we are energized throughout the day. Once we have felt the inner quiet and calm we achieve as we are guided through a yoga class, we can reach for that feeling again whether we are stuck in traffic, or dealing with coworkers. Our bodies and minds respond in the way we conditioned them to in our yoga class, so it becomes easier to take a moment for deep breathing and mindfulness to return us to a peaceful and compassionate state, which helps us deal with the stressor at hand.
As with anything, regular, consistent practice builds our skills faster. While yoga does not count towards the traditional recommended aerobic activities for healthy heart living, it really is possible for a yoga-based heart healthy lifestyle to help prevent and possibly reverse heart disease. If you have heart disease, diabetes, or are obese, check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
So instead of going out for dinner or a movie for Valentine’s Day, take your heart (and your sweetheart) out to yoga.
See You at The Studio!
Debbie Stanley owns and operates The Studio Cooperative, a dance studio in St. Charles serving residents of Waldorf, Charles County, and Southern Maryland. Visit her studio online at www.thestudiocooperative.org