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 significant roles, but research into alternative healing practices has been limited. However, some studies show the benefits of breathing, Yoga, 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. A doctor’s recommendation is crucial with factors such as patient history and medication in the mix. The following video and the separate sequence below 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 pretty popular.
Mantra is based upon syllables or “seed sounds,” which form Sanskrit words or phrases. Although we commonly practice chanting, mantras can be practiced in silence. At the same time, many people practice silent mantras throughout the day. Others might not share our enthusiasm if we work in a crowded office. Even so, a silent mantra is a practical method for drowning the noise of mind chatter.
More Meditation Techniques
Breath Awareness is one of the most accessible forms of meditation. You observe your breath without trying to control it. Later, you learn to practice deep breathing without force throughout your meditation.
Mindfulness can be applied to any of the methods mentioned above. 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 the “sleep of the yogis,” but it is 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 with gentle inversions and slowly easing into steeper asanas 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 dissolve blocked energy and nourish 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 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 use the information now. In the meantime, medical and scientific research regarding Yogic techniques for high blood pressure is not readily available. Unfortunately, this leaves us with more anecdotal information than we have from medical studies.
Nevertheless, there is some speculation that asana practice or the Yogic lifestyle could be a reason for positive outcomes. The scientific community previously disputed the idea of learned relaxation techniques for reducing hypertension. For instance, there is evidence of a connection between Yoga and high blood pressure. Furthermore, we must never forget to keep students with pre-existing high blood pressure out of harm’s way. Also, it is helpful for teachers to provide up-to-date information to keep them safe.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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