The benefits of yoga in relieving depression and lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol have already been proven, but a recent study shows that yoga also relieves the effects of atrial fibrillation, a disorder that causes an irregular heartbeat.
In the study, 49 patients with atrial fibrillation participated in a three month long program that consisted of 45 minute long yoga sessions with a professional instructor three times a week, as well as sessions at home on their own. At the end of the study, most of the patients reported that irregular heartbeat episodes were cut in half. Fewer episodes meant a reduction in depression and anxiety, which contributed to an overall improved sense of health and well-being. The results were impressive enough that researchers behind the study recommended that yoga be included in an overall treatment plan for atrial fibrillation, provided patients do not have any other physical limitations.
Yoga has fast become one of the most popular forms of exercise and alternative treatments for chronic pain and illnesses in the United States. Once considered prohibitively expensive for most people, there are now classes available in most parts of the country for all ages and incomes, with some studios even offering a “pay what you wish” fee. For those less inclined to take classes, DVDs and instruction manuals are available, as well as downloadable videos on YouTube and iTunes. Yoga encourages not just physical exercise but aligning healthy breathing with movement, as well as “mindfulness,” a meditative state that helps with relaxation and stress relief.
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