With heart disease ranking as the number one cause of death in the U.S. and worldwide, the world-renowned wellness center founded by Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D. offers free instruction in meditation – a powerful tool for the prevention and reversal of cardiovascular disease.

San Diego, California, March 05, 2012― Through their popular 21-Day Meditation Challenge™, the Chopra Center for Wellbeing to date has taught more than 200,000 people a simple mind-body healing practice that helps prevent and reverse the underlying causes of heart disease. As scientific studies have found, a regular practice of meditation decreases blood pressure and hypertension, lowers cholesterol levels, and reduces stress.

“In the past several decades, researchers have found that being chronically stressed greatly increases a person’s risk of heart disease, in part by raising circulating levels of cortisol, one of a number of ‘stress hormones.’ In fact, one study found that people with high levels of cortisol had five times the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease,” said Chopra Center co-founder Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Chronic stress can also cause increased inflammation in the body, which is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis - a condition in which the body’s arteries thicken and harden, leading to complete blockages that result in heart attack or stroke.

“We now know that lifestyle choices, including meditation, stress reduction, a healthy diet, and exercise, are the are the best way to prevent heart attacks. The 21-Day Meditation Challenge™ offers people access to free instruction and daily online guidance in the stress-reducing practice of meditation. Through the Meditation Challenge, the Chopra Center is supporting the American Heart Association and their mission to help people live healthy lives, free from heart disease and stroke,” Dr. Chopra said.

“In our experience at the Chopra Center, someone who is living with chronic emotional stress often makes choices that increase cardiovascular risk factors – such as smoking, overeating, excess alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity,” said Dr. Sheila Patel, the Chopra Center's Medical Director and a master certified meditation educator who has created many guided meditations for the 21-Day Meditation Challenge.

“When people start to meditate, even if just for a few minutes a day, they begin to begin to release accumulated stress and respond to life’s demands with greater ease and calm. When they’re stuck in traffic or facing a tough deadline, instead of reacting with an automatic fight-or-flight response, with clenched fists, soaring blood pressure, and a surge of stress hormones, they are able to maintain a sense of inner calm while still taking care of what needs to get done,” she said.

For more information on the Chopra Center, please call 888.736.6895 or to register for the Chopra Center 21-Day Meditation Challenge™ go to www.chopracentermeditation.com. Become part of the Chopra Center’s Facebook meditation community here.

For press inquiries and images, please contact:
Kathy Bankerd
Chopra Center Marketing Director
(760) 494-1609

About the 21-Day Meditation Challenge™

The Chopra Center’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge™ is a free online program offered several times throughout the year. Each day, participants receive a guided audio meditation and instruction for creating a regular meditation practice. A Meditation Challenge Facebook community is also open to participants who want to share their experiences, ask questions, and connect with other like-minded meditators. The meditations are led by Deepak Chopra and other master certified Chopra Center instructors. Once a “live” 21-Day Meditation Challenge is over, the audios of the meditations are available for purchase as downloads or CDs.

About the Chopra Center for Wellbeing

The Chopra Center for Wellbeing was founded by Deepak Chopra, M.D. and David Simon, M.D. in 1996. Located in Carlsbad, California, the Center offers a wide variety of programs, retreats, and teacher training programs that integrate the healing arts of the East with the best in modern Western medicine. The Chopra Center has helped millions of people around the world find peace of mind, physical balance, and emotional healing. The website www.chopra.com is your starting point on the path to wellbeing.

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