"This shows that yoga does have cardiovascular benefits," said Dr. Lawrence Phillips, an assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
wouldn't go so far as to say yoga is as good as brisk walking, biking or other conventional forms of exercise that have been better studied.
"And I wouldn't want people to think that yoga, or any form of exercise, takes the place of any medications they need," Phillips
That said, he
noted that yoga can do more than get the body moving; it's a "mind-body" practice that can also help with reducing stress and calming the nervous system.
agreed that people should know what they're getting into before taking a yoga class -- especially if they have physical limitations or medical conditions.
And even relatively healthy people would be wise to start at the beginning.
"Make sure you're going to a beginner's class, and tell the people at the center that you're new to yoga," Phillips
"And remember that you don't have to do everything that's offered in the class."
As for cost, a class at a yoga center can run $15 to $20, or more.
noted, as yoga grows more and more popular, lower-cost options are becoming available -- including at senior centers, hospitals and other venues.
The American Heart Association
has more on yoga and heart health (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/Yoga-and-Heart-Health_UCM_434966_Article.jsp# ).
SOURCES: Paula Chu, Ph.D. student, health policy, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Lawrence Phillips, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Dec. 16, 2014, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology