Blood pressure and yoga: Safe yoga to manage blood pressure

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Blood Pressure | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 03:30 PM

yoga and blood pressireYoga can be an effective tool to help you lower your high blood pressure. Based on study findings, the researchers found that yoga is a useful complementary treatment to help patients further lower their blood pressure readings.

For the study, the researchers tracked 58 men and women for six months. They found that practicing yoga two to three times a week lowered blood pressure from average readings of 133/80 down to 130/70 mmHg. This is striking, as decrease in blood pressure was lower (from 134/83 to 132/82) in patients who only followed a special diet without yoga.

Yoga in combination with a special diet did not outperform yoga alone, too.

Dr. David Friedman, chief of Heart Failure Services at the North Shore-LIJ Plainview Hospital, explained, “Yoga, along with deep breathing exercises, meditation, and inner reflection, is a good adjunctive and integrative cardiovascular approach to better health, including lowering blood pressure, as this data suggests. In addition to proper diet and aerobic physical fitness most days of the week, I recommend that my patients take time each day for the above measures of finding disciplined inner peace, for improved health and well-being.”

How can yoga lower your blood pressure?

Physical activity in general is known to help lower blood pressure, and yoga is a great way to exercise. The added bonus is that yoga promotes mindfulness and incorporates meditation, also well known to help reduce stress, which is another risk factor for climbing blood pressure readings.

Studies have also shown that meditation in yoga may help ease the autonomic nervous system, which is also known to help reduce blood pressure during the times of high stress.

Yoga poses to manage high blood pressure

Yoga eases arthritisHere is a list of good yoga poses to help promote a healthy blood pressure. If you’re unfamiliar with yoga, the names of these poses may not make much sense to you, but by speaking with a trained yoga instructor or conducting some online research, you can get an idea on how to complete these poses so you can start improving your heart health as soon as today.

  • Mountain pose
  • Tree pose
  • Extended hand and foot pose
  • Triangle pose
  • Warrior pose
  • Chair pose
  • Cat pose
  • Downward facing dog
  • Cobra pose
  • Bow pose
  • Bridge pose
  • Half shoulder stand
  • Two-legged forward bend
  • Sitting half spinal twist
  • Stick pose
  • Dolphin pose
  • Dolphin plank
  • Corpse pose
  • Anjali mudra

In the meantime, here are some poses explained so you can easily get started.

Mountain pose

Stand with the sides of your big toes touching. Your second toes should be parallel and your heels slightly apart. Lift and spread your toes, and place them back down on the floor.

Sun salutation

Standing with both feet touching, bring your hands together (palm to palm) and place them at your heart. Keeping your hands together (interlacing the fingers if necessary), exhale and raise your arms upward. Slowly bend backward (gently) while keeping your arms stretched above your head.

Child’s pose

Drop down onto your knees, spread your knees wide, and bring your big toes together. Sit your hips back onto your feet or heels, and reach your arms forward on the ground. If possible, rest your forehead on the mat.

Cow pose

Get down on all fours with hands shoulder width apart, your wrists right under your shoulders, and your finders spread wide. Your knees should be hip width and right under your hips. Bring your chest forward and up towards the ceiling by creating a dip in your back (the middle of your back should be lower than your shoulders and hips).

Angry cat

Reverse the cow position. From all fours, pull your navel in and up to round out your spine, arching away from the ground. Try to reach your hips back toward your ankles. Moving gently from cow to cat pose is a good way to create flow in your back muscles.

Pelvic tilt

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Inhale, and then flatten your back into the floor as you slowly exhale. You should feel your tailbone lift a little. Inhale as you relax into the floor.

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