Practicing yoga fights factors that can raise cholesterol — most notably, stress, says cardiologist Olga Shabalov, MD. “Stress can lead to inflammation, unhealthy behaviors, and increased cortisol, which raises blood sugar and fat storage — which contribute to high cholesterol,” she explains.
In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine found women who practiced yoga three times a week for 26 weeks had marked decreases in cholesterol (including “bad” LDL). To get started, follow Crystal’s lead and try these easy poses three times a week:
Stand with feet wider than shoulders; turn the toes of your right foot out and bend your right knee to a right angle, keeping your left leg straight. Extend your arms to the sides and look over your right hand. Hold for five breaths; switch sides
Stand with feet together; take a large step back with your left foot, bending your right knee. Extend arms overhead and tilt torso forward; shift weight to right foot. Slowly raise your left foot off the ground and straighten your right knee. Hold for five breaths; switch sides.
Lord of the Dance
Stand with your feet together; bend your left knee and grab your foot with your left hand (hold on to a chair with your right hand, if needed). Press your foot into your hand, letting it float straight back as you lift your right hand forward and up and let your torso tip forward. Hold for five breaths; switch sides.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.