Millions of people enjoy practicing yoga to promote a healthy way of life and to reduce stress and stress-related illnesses. The practice of yoga involves physical motion exercises, breathing exercises and meditation that lead to a relaxed and calm state. Relaxation can be measured with a noninvasive technique called HRV. HRV measures the strength of your parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the system that calms your body and mind.
We explained Heart Rate Variability and slow-paced breathing in a previous blog post. A healthy, higher HRV is associated with a greater resilience to stress, and reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome diseases-such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Conversely, a lower HRV is associated with anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular diseases such as sudden cardiac death, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Studies have shown that practicing yoga and meditation with their associated breathing techniques increases HRV and the “Relaxation Response”, which in turn may favorably reduce the risk factors associated with metabolic syndromes. One study indicated a significant improvement in HRV and increase of parasympathetic tone within 1 month of initiating yoga training. Another study showed that practitioners of Iyengar Yoga had higher HRV when compared to a group not practicing yoga.
Being resilient to stress is a skill you can learn and sharpen, and it's never too late to give it a try. The affordable iChoice sensor and free relaxation app guides you to breathe at your Personal Best Relaxation Breathing Rate. As you practice and achieve your Personal Best Relaxation Breathing Rate, your HRV is increased, resulting in improved resilience to stress and overall health. In addition, the app features guided meditations to relieve stress and anxiety, Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), and relaxing music and visuals. ichoiceRelax can be used as an adjunct tool by practitioners of yoga and meditation to find their inner calm.