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Free Yoga Class for Women Focuses on the Heart

Fayetteville, Ga. (January 21, 2019) The Dottie Fuqua Women’s Heart Support Network uses a holistic approach to heart care for women, focusing on preventive medicine and wellness to reduce risk factors. The program launched at Piedmont Fayette Hospital in the summer of 2018, thanks to a generous donation from Fayetteville resident Vicki Turner. The program offers heart healthy cooking demonstrations, aromatherapy classes, and dinners and discussion with physicians and staff members from the hospital. This year, the Women’s Heart Support Network added a new program - Women’s Heart Yoga.

Led by instructor Tamie Leukhardt, the free yoga class, is held every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at the Piedmont Fayette Fitness Center, 1250 Hwy 54, Suite 200 (across from the hospital). While the class is open to women of any age and any fitness level, and aimed at yoga beginners, the work in the class will be beneficial for anyone looking to improve range of motion, flexibility, and mindfulness.

“Yoga can be a good stress reliever. It can lower blood pressure, help you slow down and take some time for yourself,” Leukhardt said. “While you’re increasing circulation, increasing blood flow to your heart and lungs, you’re also improving your core and lower back strength as you release tension throughout your body.”

Heart disease kills more women than lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer combined, according to Bukola Olubi M.D., a cardiologist with Piedmont Heart Institute in Fayetteville. Some risk factors for heart disease include elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, hypertension and smoking.

“For women over the age of 35, physical inactivity is almost as bad as smoking cigarettes,” Dr. Olubi said. “The first thing women should do is get active. This free yoga program would be a good first step in the right direction.”

Leukhardt got involved with yoga 10 years ago and was intimidated when she first started taking classes. She found the names of the poses hard to understand and she worried that yoga was for people younger and more flexible than she was. Eventually, she found what fit for her and yoga became a lifestyle. She started teaching yoga classes four years ago, and enjoys introducing others to the practice.

“I try to keep the class very simple, using layman’s terms and encouraging people to find what works for them,” Leukhardt said. “I believe that people can feel the benefits of yoga on their bodies and their minds within the first few classes.”

For more information about The Women’s Heart Support Network, visit piedmont.org/WomensHeartSupport.

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