Reduce Heart Arrhythmia with Yoga

Reduce Heart Arrhythmia with Yoga


By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.


the practice of yoga is good for overall heart health, and especially beneficial for afib patients. Yoga can help reduce the number of episodes, lower blood pressure, and alleviate some of the anxiety and depression that may go along with having the condition.” – Midwest Health


Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction. Yoga is a mindfulness practice that has been shown to improve physical well-being and cardiovascular health.


An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slowly, or with an irregular rhythm. When a heart beats too fast, the condition is called tachycardia. When a heart beats too slowly, the condition is called bradycardia.” (NIH). Arrythmias if untreated could lead to heart failure, stroke, cardiac arrest and sudden infant death. So, it is very important to identify treatments for arrhythmias. Research on the ability of yoga practice to treat arrhythmias has been accumulating, So, it makes sense to step back and review what has been learned on the ability of yoga to treat heart arrhythmia.


In today’s Research News article “Impact of Yoga on Cardiac Autonomic Function and Arrhythmias.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: ) Akella and colleagues review and summarized the published research on the effects of yoga practice on heart arrhythmia and its symptoms.


They report that the published research studies found that practicing yoga reduces heart arrhythmias. It reduces resting blood pressure and heart rate in these patients and reduces atrial fibrillation, ventricular arrhythmia and syncope. They further report that the published research suggests that these benefits results from yoga practice producing an increase in vagal tone and a reduction in fluctuations in the autonomic nervous system.


The autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling the physiology of the body including the cardiovascular system. The sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system is the component that oversees activation, including increases in heart rate and blood pressure while the parasympathetic division, controlled through the vagus nerve, oversees relaxation including decreases in heart rate and blood pressure. The increase in vagal tone observed in the yoga practitioners indicates an increase in the parasympathetic, relaxation, responses. The reduction in fluctuation in the autonomic nervous system indicates that there is less variation over time in the physiological systems, fewer wild swings in heart rate and blood pressure. In this way, yoga practice appears to improve cardiovascular function and thereby reduce arrhythmias. Needless to say that this is very beneficial for the health and even survival of these patients.


So, reduce heart arrhythmia with yoga.


Yoga may improve quality of life in patients with paroxysmal AFib because it gives them a method to gain some self-control over their symptoms instead of feeling helpless,” – Maria Wahlström


CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies


This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ and on Twitter @MindfulResearch


Study Summary


Akella, K., Kanuri, S. H., Murtaza, G., G Della Rocca, D., Kodwani, N., K Turagam, M., Shenthar, J., Padmanabhan, D., Basu Ray, I., Natale, A., Gopinathannair, R., & Lakkireddy, D. (2020). Impact of Yoga on Cardiac Autonomic Function and Arrhythmias. Journal of atrial fibrillation, 13(1), 2408.



With the expanding integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices in conjunction with modern medicine, yoga has quickly risen to being one of the most common CAM practices across the world. Despite widespread use of yoga, limited studies are available, particularly in the setting of dysrhythmia. Preliminary studies demonstrate promising results from integration of yoga as an adjunct to medical therapy for management of dysrhythmias. In this review, we discuss the role of autonomic nervous system in cardiac arrhythmia,interaction of yoga with autonomic tone and its subsequent impact on these disease states. The role of yoga in specific disease states, and potential future direction for studies assessing the role of yoga in dysrhythmia.


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