Heart Health - Be Proactive
A Happy, Healthy, Heart with Qigong and Yoga?
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 8 out of 10 cases of premature heart disease are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices. That's good news because it puts the power of health into our own hands. The HSF also names 1 of the key factors for heart health as managing stress. What wonderful news for those of us practicing yoga and qigong on a regular basis. We are already pro-actively caring for the heart. How and why do these practices help?
The feeling of calm that many people comment on following a qigong or yoga session is real. Studies show that both practices combat the destructive forces of chronic stress. Yoga and Qigong have been found to lower blood pressure, decrease blood markers associated with chronic stress like cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine, decrease heart rate, and increase heart rate variability a significant factor in balancing the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. All really good news for your heart.
As both yoga and qigong are broad practices with many aspects to the forms it is necessary for research to continue to define the benefits more clearly. However, we can see a trend towards positive outcomes for heart health. It is clear that beginning and maintaining a yoga and/or qigong practice that is accessible and purposeful to you is a self-empowering step in taking a lead role in your health and happiness.
If like many people: You are more than aware of what comprises a healthy lifestyle. You have a desire to follow a healthy lifestyle. Yet you find it overwhelming to know where to begin. Then try taking just one simple step at a time. Here are some suggestions,
Join a weekly class with a friend so that you can be accountable to each other [start now].
Find just a few minutes in your daily schedule for a mindfulness practice. Follow the guided practice on the video now and take some time to breathe.
Plan ahead to take regular time out. Attending a full day retreat can be both relaxing and rejuvenating [view retreat days]