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. Unfortunately, high blood pressure is a silent killer that puts us at risk. Among the potential risks are strokes, heart disease, kidney failure, and other illnesses. After all, our blood pressure rises as we get older. Yet, 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, some studies are showing the benefits of breathing, Yogic exercise, and meditation. With that said, doctors are recommending Yoga as a means of staying fit or as an addition to traditional therapies.
Yoga Poses for High Blood Pressure
Generally speaking, it helps to have a doctor’s advice. With factors, such as: Patient history and medication in the mix, a doctor’s recommendation is crucial. The following video and the separate sequence below that both lean toward the safe side. Most importantly, steep inversions, pushing, forcing, and rushing techniques are not recommended.
High Blood Pressure Sequence
Seated Forward Bend
Big Toe Pose
Half Spinal Twist
Double Leg Raises
Breathing for High Blood Pressure
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Meditation for High Blood Pressure
Firstly, there are more forms of meditation than the short list posted below. Secondly, all forms of meditation lead to a trained, relaxed, and focused mind. Lastly, one type of meditation is not superior to another.
Visualization is commonly used in Yantra Yoga. Traditionally, some practitioners used mandalas for visual focus. These days, many objects are available and candles are quite popular.
Mantra is based upon syllables or “seed sounds,” which form Sanskrit words or phrases. Although, we commonly practice by chanting, mantras can be practiced in silence. At the same time, many people practice silent mantras throughout the day. In the event that we work in a crowded office, others might not share our enthusiasm. Even so, silent mantra is a practical method for drowning the noise of mind chatter.
Breath Awareness is one of the easiest forms of meditation. You observe tour breath without trying to control it. Later on, you learn to practice deep breathing without force, throughout your meditation practice.
Mindfulness can be applied to any of the above mentioned methods. To be mindful is to observe at a deep level. Coupled with practice, you can observe any object or function within a deep state of mindfulness.
Yoga Nidra is unique, because it is a hybrid practice. Some will say it is not meditation at all. Some call it “sleep of the yogis,” but it is definitely the state of twilight between sleep and meditation.
What Not to Do
Granted, some exercises can cause complications for practitioners with high blood pressure. Yoga Journal advises caution when doing inversions. After all, inversions are postures in which the head is below the heart. Consequently, these poses put pressure on blood vessels in the head and neck. Yet, there is a belief among many 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. As always, practitioners should consult with their physicians before practicing Yoga.
When we exercise, our bodies circulate fresh blood to our organs. In turn, we flush out toxins, which dissolves blocked energy and nourishes cells. That said, stretching relieves tight muscles, while it keeps blood vessels supple and free flowing. Furthermore, yoga calms the autonomic nervous system. Moreover, we are less likely to be depressed and more likely to maintain holistic lifestyles.
Despite this being the age of information, we need more medical studies. Although research to figure out how Yoga lowers blood pressure is slowly coming through, we can really use the information now. In the meantime, medical and scientific research regarding Yogic techniques for high blood pressure is not easily available. Unfortunately, this leaves us with more anecdotal information than we have from medical studies at this time.
Nevertheless, there is some speculation that asana practice or the Yogic lifestyle could be a reason for positive outcomes. In the past, the scientific community disputed the idea of learned relaxation techniques for reducing hypertension. For instance, there is evidence of the connection between Yoga and high blood pressure. Furthermore, we must never forget to keep students who have pre-existing high blood pressure out of harm’s way. Also, it is helpful for teachers to provide up-to-date information in order to keep them safe.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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