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How Yoga Can Fight Anxiety, Improve Health

Add yet another study to the list of scientific research backing the claim that practicing yoga can improve health and reduce levels of anxiety.

A recent study looked at the effects of yoga on 49 patients with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat caused by disorganized electrical signals in the heart. Practicing yoga not only calmed the patients' irregular heartbeat, cutting episodes of atrial fibrillation in half, it also improved anxiety, depression, general health, and social and mental well-being.

The study took place in two parts; patients exercised as usual for the first three months, and then during the second three months participated in three yoga sessions per week.

The sessions were taught by a certified yoga instructor, and the patients were also encouraged to use a DVD to practice yoga at home. All the participants in the study were new to the practice of yoga.

The researchers compared irregular heartbeat episodes and information from self-reported surveys for the two parts of the study and found significant improvements in the yoga intervention portion of the study.

Lead study author Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, associate professor of medicine at the University of Kansas Hospital, said "It appears yoga has a significant impact on helping to regulate patients' heart beat and improves their overall quality of life."

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