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While the average human heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute, factors like your overall physical fitness, stress, anxiety and weight play a part in how often your heart beats. Yoga will help you increase your overall health, boost your heart health, and eventually lower your resting heart rate.
Why the Decrease
Most yogis learn to check their stressors at the door when they enter a yoga studio. Since stress contributes to blood pressure and heart rate, the more you're able to de-stress, the better your blood pressure and heart rate will be. No two heart rates are the same, and no two people will see the same results after starting a yoga practice. Your primary care provider can likely help you measure how much yoga has contributed to your lower heart rate after you've been practicing for a while.
Certain yoga poses can contribute to lowering your heart rate, especially chest-opening poses such as simple twists and Side Plank. In Side Plank, you balance on your side on one hand and one foot while lifting your non-balance arm overhead. This pose can help strengthen your core, but won't cause your heart to race. Similarly, certain resting poses will help bring your heart rate down. Your instructor will likely call for Child's pose following a more aerobic portion of class, since this pose lets you catch your breath and relax. You'll likely end class in Corpse pose, in which you lie on your back and extend your arms and legs on the ground. This pose may be physically easy but can be mentally challenging, since you're meant to empty your head and soak in the work you did during your practice.
Practice Heart Rate
How you move during a yoga class won't noticeably change your heart rate, according to a 2007 study published in "BMC Complimentary and Alternative Medicine." Yoga represents вЂњlow levels of physical activityвЂ¦ similar to walking on a treadmill at 3.2 kilometers per hour and does not meet recommendations for levels of physical activity for improving or maintaining health or cardiovascular fitness,вЂќ said study authors, who measured the heart rates of a group of yogis before, during and after practice. Only after 10 minutes of Sun Salutations did heart rates go up, but only as high as you'd experience shopping for groceries or cleaning your home.
Developing a yoga practice will contribute to your heart's overall health, decrease your heart rate and reduce your stress. The breath work you learn in yoga can also play a part, since deep breathing lowers your heart rate and helps you relax. Regular exercise, hydration and sleeping between six and eight hours a night can also reduce your heart rate.