Category Archives for Health

Yoga for a Healthy Heart!

When asked how to correctly write out the sound of a heartbeat, replied, “There are different versions in different languages. In English I have seen thump thump, ba boom, ba bump and lub-dub. In India, it is ‘dhakdhak.’ In Italian, it’s ‘tu tump.’” Regardless of how the sound is described, the sound of a healthy heart is like music! Unfortunately, the tune some hearts play can be a bit off key.

Sunrise Yoga recently began a series of yoga classes to promote a healthy heart. The classes were offered by Sunrise Yoga founder, Valerie Kiser, to fulfill graduation requirements for Cardiac Yoga Certification. The interest in these classes was overwhelming and seemed to point out a need for more information regarding yoga for a healthy heart!

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.”

Kathryn Boland, a Certified Yoga Therapist, noted in an article on, “Ancient cultures saw the heart as the seat of our emotions, while modern culture has largely regarded it as the organ that pumps life-giving blood throughout the body. We mostly now see the brain, with its firing neurons and moving neurotransmitters, as the place where thoughts and emotions originate. On the other hand, modern science is coming to understand cardiovascular impacts on emotion, such as the strong connections between anxiety and breath rate, pulse, and body temperature—all of which are closely tied to the condition of the heart.”

She goes on to say, “Because of the physiological link between breathing rate and heart rate, pranayama, yoga’s science of breath control and awareness, can perhaps contribute to heart health. The emotional aspect of heart disease care is another area to which yoga can offer powerful benefits.”

“The effect of pressure can never be under estimated. Ask someone who has undergone bypass surgery or suffered cardiac arrests or other heart diseases! If they have lived to tell the tale, they will tell you that they have to continually battle fear and stress.” notes This is further underscored by the president of Positive Health Solutions, founder of Cardiac Yoga, and yoga instructor, M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D., as quoted on the American Heart Association site, “The acute emotional stress of such an event certainly has a significant and adverse effect on the heart,” she said. “That’s where yoga can be a tremendous benefit to manage the stress, and half of bypass surgery patients go through depression, facing emotions ranging from anxiety to grieving. All these things come into play when you’ve got a potentially chronic disease to manage for the rest of your life.”

As Sunrise Yoga reports on its website, the benefits of yoga include the relief of stress, increased serenity and peace, and increased energy, among numerous other benefits. The healthy heart class focuses on breathing, mindfulness and relaxation with poses adapted to meet the needs of heart patients. The current series of classes will end soon but we encourage you to contact us for other classes that could be appropriate for you so that you too can experience the heart healthy benefits of yoga.

February is American Heart Month. Make it your goal to get your heart singing a happy song! We would love to help you get in tune! Download the Sunrise Yoga app, visit the web site, or call the studio at 336-778-1233.

Thyroid Awareness Month – Yoga Can Help!

Have you been trying to get back to yoga, back to the gym, get in shape, make changes, begin anew? January is also the month that has been deemed Thyroid Awareness Month. Thyroid awareness may change your perspective on your progress with your new year’s resolutions.

According to, “The thyroid is a small gland located in the base of your neck that is part of the endocrine system. This tiny gland has a big job and nobody disputes that! The gland is responsible for various functions including the metabolism, regulating body temperature, cognitive function, digestion, and much more. To make it easy, the thyroid affects the entire body and when it is not working properly you will definitely feel the effects.”

From, the facts regarding thyroid issues include:
• More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
• An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
• Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
• Most thyroid diseases are life-long conditions that can be managed with medical attention.
• The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown.

And they note common symptoms include:
• Weight loss or gain
• Palpitations
• Feeling anxious or jittery
• Increased sweating
• Feeling hot or cold
• Trouble sleeping
• Constipation
• Depression
• Fatigue (feeling very tired)
• Hair Loss
• Dry skin and hair

Problems start to arise when there is either too much thyroid hormone in the system (hyperthyroidism), or there is too little thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism). notes, “Hypothyroidism carries a range of symptoms that include unexplained fatigue ,weight gain, depression, forgetfulness, feeling cold, hair loss, low sex drive, constipation or infertility”
Because hypothyroidism usually has insidious onset and nonspecific symptoms, Nadia Yaqub, MD — a UC Health endocrinologist who treats patients with all spectrums of thyroid disease— says: ‘People don’t connect the dots right away’ and the symptoms are easily brushed off and attributed to other factors such as poor diet, stress or even depression.

On the flip side, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism—rapid heart rate, heat intolerance and unexplained weight loss and anxiety—manifest quickly and may cause people to seek medical attention sooner, she says. According to the AACE, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, where antibodies target the thyroid gland, causing it to overproduce thyroid hormone.

The majority of thyroid disease sufferers are women, often diagnosed by their OB/GYN when women are trying to conceive. Thyroid hormone also plays role in infertility as well. Some females are diagnosed for the first time during their pregnancy.”

What do issues with the thyroid have to do with yoga?

According to, “There haven’t been too many studies which specifically show how yoga can help improve thyroid health.” and “Although yoga doesn’t seem to have a direct effect on thyroid health, it can help to improve the health of people with these conditions in other ways. Research shows that yoga can modulate the immune system, and as I mentioned earlier, this can lead to a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines and other inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6, interleukin 8, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and CRP.”

“Since stress is believed to be one of the major factors for thyroid disorders, meditation keeps the mind calm and relaxed and reduces everyday stress. The chanting of ‘Om’ everyday for a few minutes also helps. After chanting, do this small activity: put your hand on the thyroid gland and feel that it is getting healed. Let the positive vibrations of chanting have a stimulating effect on the thyroid gland.”, from

Yoga Poses for Your Thyroid include:

* Supported shoulderstand
* Plow Pose
* Fish Pose
* Legs Up the Wall Pose
* Cat Cow Pose
* Boat Pose
* Camel Pose
* Cobra Pose
* Upward Bow (Wheel) Pose
* Corpse Pose

Think you have a thyroid issue? Contact us at to see if we can help you with this. We would love to help you!