Yoga therapy for stress relief and heart disease


Stress makes plaque buildup in your artery very quickly.  People who have one risk factor weather its high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or if they have gone for a heart attack, bypass surgery or angioplasty yoga is a great way to do exercise and stress management at the same time. Yoga therapy is a stress management technique which include gentle yoga postures with focus on different systems of the bodies, pranayama (breathing exercises), japa (chanting), meditation, progressive relaxation, yoga nidra (yogic sleep) all with focus on the internal body and versus the external.

Leading causes of morbidity and mortality today stem from chronic conditions.   Chronic conditions develop slowly over the long period of time and they manifest later into heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, hypertension and obesity.   Looking at the risk factors of why we are becoming so sick and chronically ill I have made a connection that yoga therapy addresses the underlying causes of all of these conditions.

  1. Physical activity. Yoga postures teaches us how to move our bodies. To develop strength, to improve circulation, to remove weight, arterial blockages and more.
  2. Yoga also teaches us to manage stress just by breathing deeper we learn to calm the nervous system. As we move and focus on our alignment, our joints, muscles and movement we become more aware of our bodies. When we get stressed out we begin to breath very short and shallow in the chest which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.   The heart rate increases the arteries constrict and our blood pressure increases and we become stressed out and that intern impairs our digestion detoxification and stress impairs our body’s ability to heal.    Just by breathing deeply taking slow and deep breaths in and out of our lower belly in the bottom third of our lungs we turn on our parasympathetic response(nervous system)  which is responsible for rest and digest (digestive system) state of our bodies.   So everything functions better when we can breathe deeper slow down the heart rate, lower the blood pressure and our bodies can function optimally.    So breathing is an invaluable tool we can earn thru yoga to manage stress anxiety and improve the physiology of our bodies.
  3. Yogic postures, breathing and meditation cultivates a sense of awareness. We become aware of how we move, how we breathe and how we interact with the world as a result we become aware of what we put in our bodies and how we feel afterwards.

Yoga therapy teaches how to slow down, how to look within, how to reconnect with your body, manage stress and make positive changes off the mat.  Not only prevent chronic stress.   With yoga you can be healthy and happy and create the life of your dreams.

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Alpa Raval
Alpa Raval has been enjoying the benefits of yoga all her life. She first learned yoga at the age of 12 in India where she was trained in all aspects of yoga including theory and practice of yoga as in whole. She has a masters in Yoga and is now doing advance study in integrative yoga therapy. Alpa has been teaching yoga in central Florida over 12 years. Alpa has also been in service to her community as a children’s yoga instructor at Vidhya Vihaar (Sunday school) since 2005, after school program at Lake Montessori and seniors yoga instructor at several senior centers. She has also taught at Lake Montessori, Windermere Preparatory School, Yoga Central (Mount Dora), YMCA, Golds gym for the past 10 years and now a power yoga instructor at various locations at LA fitness. Alpa taught a course on yoga for a year at Barnett Honors College UCF, and teaches Therapeutic Yoga at UCF Pegasus Health Care Center, mindfulness meditation and chair yoga for stress relief at UCF Medical city at Lake Nona. She is passionate about yoga and the benefits each person can gain from the practice no matter the age. While she favor sharing and practicing Ananda(hatha)style, she also teaches and holds workshops on Yoga as Therapy, Mindfulness practice and integrative (meditation and pranayama) styles of yoga.