Open Heart Yoga

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Setting:Practical application and observation of the effects of mindful meditation and yoga practices to relieve the symptoms of chronic stress that contribute to coronary artery disease (CAD).Methods:Four groups consisting of 12 to 15 participants who were at-risk or already diagnosed with CAD at Stamford Hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness completed a comprehensive 12-week program to promote lifestyle changes intended to improve heart health and/or reduce the risk of heart disease. A regular yoga practice, in conjunction with group support, exercise, and nutrition offered transformative methods promoting more exercise, healthier eating and helping patients to deal with anxiety, depression, hostility, and feelings of isolation, all major contributors to CAD.Results:Substantial reductions in weight, serum cholesterol, dietary fat intake, and self-estimated stress, with more than 20% increase in exercise capacity, suggest that the combination of yoga and meditation are valuable stress management techniques that help contribute to prevention, treatment, and sometimes reversal of CAD, as well as overall flexibility in body, mind, and spirit.

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