Yoga and meditation could help lower the risk of heart disease. Researchers said that the practice may help lower blood pressure and stress which can put a strain on the heart.

Coronary heart disease is the number one killer in the UK, causing 160,000 deaths a year – a quarter of the total.

Previous studies found that meditation (an element of yoga) boosted brain health. The research was carried out by the ‘American Heart Association’ who reviewed past studies to examine the impact of heart disease. Its findings, published in the Association’s journal, suggested the practice could be associated with decreased stress, anxiety and depression, and improved sleep and overall well being. It may also lower blood pressure.

Study leader, Professor Glenn Levine, of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said despite the benefits yoga was ‘not a substitute for traditional medical care’.