Heart Disease: The Silent Killer for Women
By Nancy Weshkoff
February is Heart Health Month and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Movement, with February 5th designated as Go Red for Women Day. I applaud the American Heart Association for their work in bringing to light this very important issue.
Here are some key factors about heart disease in women that you need to know:
– Did you know that heart disease is the NUMBER ONE killer of women in the United States?
– Did you know that if you stacked up ALL cancer-related deaths for women together (breast, lung, ovarian, liver, skin cancer, etc), that all of these cancer-related deaths together would still be number two behind heart disease?
– Did you know that 1 in 3 women in the United States will die every year from heart disease? And of this number, did you know that more than 1,800 of these women who die from heart disease will live here on Long Island in New York?
– Did you know that you can help PREVENT becoming one of these very sad statistics by proactively taking steps to lower your risk?
While there are some things that you cannot change, such as your family history of heart disease, there are several things that doctors all agree that you CAN do to lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These include:
– Engage in moderate exercise on a regular basis. Sitting on a couch and not moving is bad for you in so many ways. Your body needs to move. Yoga is extremely helpful in helping you with your exercise goals. The postures in a yoga class will build strength and flexibility, and at the same time, the deep breathing techniques (pranayama) used in a yoga class increase the flow of blood to your heart and your organs.
– Reduce your stress levels: We all face stress. How we deal with stress is key. Being in a “fight or flight” mode, which is how our body reacts when our stress levels are high, is putting a huge strain on your body functions – including your heart. Meditation is a wonderful tool to help you lower your blood pressure and stress levels. Yoga classes also help you reduce your stress. The yoga and meditation classes at Moonflower Yoga can get you on the path to accomplishing your stress-reduction goals.
– Learn to be “in the present moment”. We often worry unnecessarily about things from our past that we cannot change or things in the future that MIGHT happen but haven’t happened yet and may never happen. In our classes and workshops at Moonflower Yoga, we teach you ways to be more in the present moment and let go of unnecessary worries bringing you more peace and calm.
– Lower your blood pressure: Moving more, decreasing your stress levels, and using tools such as meditation and yoga mentioned above can all help you with this. How about learning something new? Spending some time reading a great book or engaging in a fun activity such as art or coloring are meditative and can help lower your stress levels. A few days ago, we enjoyed coloring mandalas in our Kundalini and art workshop. We also have a fun Moonflower Yoga Book Club that meets every 4-6 weeks and an upcoming art workshop entitled “Collage for the Soul” where no prior art experience is needed and you learn to meditate through art. Or try something completely different and learn to how to read Tarot Cards in our upcoming Tarot Cards workshop. Spending time with your Tarot cards is very engaging and takes your mind off of your worries. These types of interesting and meditative activities can help you on the path of stress reduction and lowering your blood pressure.
As someone who has a history of heart disease in my family, I take heart disease very seriously. My stress levels and blood pressure were very high – all red flags for being on the path to a heart attack or stroke. Through yoga, meditation, learning to be more in the present moment, and spending time in engaging activities such as reading, I have been able to lower my blood pressure to normal. You, too, can lower your risk. We hope to see you soon at a great yoga class, meditation, or workshop at Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore in Nassau County, Long Island, where we can help you reduce your risk of heart disease as well. Let’s lower these frightening heart-disease numbers for women!
Yoga and a Healthy Heart
Written by Nancy Weshkoff
February is American Heart Month. Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women? If you combined together ALL cancers contracted by women, the cumulative total of all cancer-related deaths would still be number two behind heart disease. This is a very scary statistic of which many people are not aware.
There are several factors that contribute to heart disease including your family history. All doctors agree that two of the key contributing factors to heart attacks in women are lack of exercise and stress. We cannot change our family history but we can reduce our risk of heart disease by exercising and lowering our stress levels. Yoga can help with both of these.
When you come to a yoga class, you are taking an hour just for yourself and leaving behind the pressures of job and family. We all need some time for ourselves. As you move in your yoga class, you are opening up your heart chakra and breathing deeply and fully. And, of course, you are also getting stronger and more flexible. At the end of each class, when you come into savasana (corpse pose) you are spending several minutes being very still and releasing all your tension and stress. If not for this yoga practice, when else during a busy day are you doing that for yourself?
At Moonflower Yoga, we recognize the need for reducing your stress. This is why certain classes have been added to our regular schedule such as candlelight restorative and stress-reducing vinyasa flow. In candlelight restorative, for example, you spend 5-10 minutes deeply relaxing into each posture with the help of a bolster and other props. I have seen students walk into the door of Moonflower Yoga before the class begins feeling completely stressed from the challenges of the day. When they leave, their stress has melted away. It is an hour well spent and you feel much better.
Make 2013 your year to do something positive to reduce your risk of heart disease. If you are in the area of Bellmore, Long Island (New York) in Nassau County, try a yoga class at Moonflower Yoga where you will feel great. Let’s help reduce the risk of this number one killer for women.