High blood pressure is a serious problem that affects one in three adults in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Yoga offers a wide range of physical and preventive benefits for many health conditions, including high blood pressure. Several studies have shown that yoga can help to lower blood pressure, including studies at the Mayo Clinic and international studies.
Stress has been shown to contribute to high blood pressure. For this reason, the American Heart Association recommends stress management techniques to reduce stress and helps prevent high blood pressure. Yoga offers a natural method of stress relief and relaxation that can be beneficial when used in combination with lifestyle changes, including healthy diet and exercise.
There are several aspects of yoga that help to reduce blood pressure. The breathing, relaxation and meditative aspects of yoga help to release tension and relax the mind and body. In addition, there are some yoga asana that offer benefits for preventing high blood pressure and lowering blood pressure.
For a practice that is focused on stress relief and high blood pressure, there are some yoga poses you should try. Some poses that are good for high blood pressure include downward facing dog, camel pose, seated forward bend, knee to chest and mild twists. In addition, spend some extra time in savasana, or corpse pose, at the end of your practice to gain the full benefit of yoga for your blood pressure. Yoga practices that include meditation or meditating after your practice increase the stress relief benefits of yoga.
Yoga poses that have your head below your heart, such as headstand and other inversions, are sometimes counter indicated for people with high blood pressure. Headstand, handstand and other inversions can increase blood pressure in the head.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and are under a doctor’s care, check with your doctor before staring a yoga practice or any exercise program. Each person is different and your doctor can advise you about the safety of yoga in your situation. If you are new to yoga, a certified yoga teacher or yoga therapist can help you find the best sequence of poses to meet your individual needs, while helping you avoid poses that may not be safe.