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Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in Australia, killing one of us every 12 minutes. There is a significant body of research that confirms the important role yoga can play in managing heart disease. The European Journal of Preventative Cardiology (Dec 2014) found that yoga (and not the active, exercise kind of yoga) is comparable to walking and biking when it comes to cardiovascular health.

The study, a meta-analysis of 37 randomised controlled studies, suggests that these benefits could be due to yoga's impact on stress reduction, "leading to positive impacts on neuroendocrine status, metabolic and cardio-vagal function."

What does this mean for ordinary Australians looking to reduce their risk of heart disease? Well, here are the averaged outcomes for the study:

-Systolic blood pressure reduced by 5.21 mm Hg
-Low-density (bad) lipoprotein cholesterol reduced by 12.14 mg/dl
-High-density (good) lipoprotein cholesterol increased by 3.20 mg/dl.
-Body weight decreased by 2.32 kg
-Diastolic blood pressure reduced by 4.9 mm Hg
-Total cholesterol reduced by 18.48 mg/dl
-Heart rate dropped by 5.27 beats/min.
-In patients with existing coronary heart disease, yoga displayed a statistically significant benefit in lowering LDL cholesterol when added to statins and lipid-lowering drugs.

These outcomes significantly lower the risk of heart disease. We took this research, and data from other studies, to create the Adore Yoga Heart Health program. This 10 week course integrates yoga and naturopathy to create a personalised Integrative Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program.

Students attend weekly group workshops that draw from cutting edge research to provide practical advice on the factors that contribute to heart disease, including inflammation, oxidative stress and immune dysfunction. Workshops are followed by a 60 minute Heart Health yoga class that is designed to replicate the heart-health markers found in recent studies.
The aim of this program is to help students take control of their heart health in practical and personalised ways and make a real difference to their quality of life.

Nikola Ellis is the founder of Adore Yoga, yoga therapist, counsellor and teacher trainer. Join her for Yoga Classes, Workshops, Training and Yoga retreats. Got a question about yoga or ayurveda? Ask Nikola here.

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