If you’re dealing with mildly or slightly high blood pressure, yoga may be an effective option to help bring it down.
A small pool of research suggests that yoga can help lower blood pressure. The relaxation/meditation activity uses various stretching poses that may positively impact your heart.
Studies show that yoga can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve quality of life.
One study, for example, showed that performing yoga for 12 weeks could lead to clinically meaningful improvements in systolic blood pressure in a 24-hour period. After yoga was performed, the reductions lasted for a day.
Systolic blood pressure is the measurement of pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats and the first number in a blood pressure reading. A drop of just 2 mm Hg (the measurement of blood pressure) may reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 7 percent and the risk of dying from a stroke by 10 percent.
How might yoga work to lower blood pressure?
It could be multi-factorial. For one, it is a form of exercise. Yoga is a form of light-intensity exercise which can positively affect blood pressure. Some yoga poses can also be quite strenuous, which may take it into vigorous activity at times.
Yoga may also lower blood pressure by being an effective form of meditation. The relaxing practice may help relieve stress by decreasing activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates stress response.
Larger studies and more concrete findings looking at yoga and blood pressure are required, but there are some promising data on how it may help.
Of course, it may also come down to the severity of a particular condition. Yoga may likely be a more realistic form of blood pressure reduction for people who have mild to high blood pressure.
If mobility is a struggle, try using aids like a chair to help with poses. You can find plenty of information online about poses or speak to a practitioner.