What is the connection between Yoga and high blood pressure? Does Yoga decrease blood pressure? At Long Island University, researchers and Yoga teachers worked together to find out. Approximately one out of every three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, a silent killer that puts us at risk for strokes, heart disease, kidney failure, and other illnesses. Although our blood pressure rises as we get older, we can often prevent complications by living healthy lifestyles.
Blood pressure measures the force of blood pumped from the heart against the artery walls. We know that exercise, diet, and stress play big roles, but research into the field of alternative healing practices has been limited. However, with new studies showing the benefits of breathing, Yogic exercise, and meditation, some doctors are recommending Yoga as a means of staying fit or as an addition to traditional therapies.
Ten Poses for High Blood Pressure
• Easy Pose
• Shoulder Stretches
• Cat Pose
• Seated Forward Bend
• Camel Pose
• Knee Squeeze
• Big Toe Pose
• Half Spinal Twist
• Double Leg Raises
• Wind-Relieving Pose
Two Breathing Techniques for High Blood Pressure
• Alternate Nostril Breathing
• Abdominal Breathing
Five Kinds of Meditation for High Blood Pressure
• Yoga Nidra
What Not to Do
Some exercises can cause complications for practitioners with high blood pressure. “Yoga Journal” advises caution when doing inversions – postures in which the head is below the heart. These poses put pressure on blood vessels in the head and neck. There is a belief among practitioners that starting out with gentle inversions, and slowly easing into steeper asanas ones may help a student’s tolerance over time. However, this theory is not scientifically proven. Practitioners should always consult with their physicians before practicing Yoga.
When we exercise, our bodies circulate fresh blood to our organs and flush out toxins, dissolving blocked energy and nourishing cells. Stretching, especially, relieves tight muscles and keeps blood vessels supple and free flowing. Due to the fact that Yoga calms the autonomic nervous system, we are less likely to be depressed and more likely to maintain holistic lifestyles.
We need more medical studies to figure out how Yoga lowers blood pressure, but we can use the information we have to stay healthy in the meantime. Medical and scientific research regarding Yogic techniques for high blood pressure is hard to come by, which leaves us with more anecdotal information than we have from medical studies at this time.
There is some speculation that asana practice or the Yogic lifestyle could be a reason. In the past, the scientific community disputed the idea that learned relaxation techniques could reduce hypertension. Yet, there is evidence of the connection between Yoga and high blood pressure. The key is to keep students who have pre-existing high blood pressure out of harm’s way.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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