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.