yoga-high-blood-pressure

Anyone who suffers from high blood pressure now has a unique opportunity to lower their blood pressure in a simple, natural and hustle-free manner. This is thanks to a series of studies which have revealed that the ancient practice of yoga can help to significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The claim that yoga can be effective for alleviating high blood pressure is nothing new.

As early as 1975, journals like The Lancet, were already publishing studies linking certain yoga practices to lower blood pressure. However, most of these early studies were taken with a little caution because – as is the standard practice in scientific circles – they hadn’t yet been replicated. But now, many more studies have been carried out, and the verdict is out – yoga can help to lower blood pressure.

‘Patients who did yoga in a studio 2 to 3 times per week for 24 weeks experienced a statistically significant drop in their blood pressure, greater than the diet only group.’

One such a study was carried out by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The study involved 58 participants who were all women aged between 38 and 52 years. The women were divided into three groups: one group was put on a special diet, another was put on yoga and the third group was put on a combination of diet and yoga.

The frequency of practicing yoga was basically 2 to 3 sessions per week (of meditation, breathing exercises and yoga asanas) for a period of 24 weeks. After the 24 weeks, those who practiced yoga only recorded the greatest drop in blood pressure among all the three groups. The average blood pressure readings dropped from 133/80 to 130/77. The researchers, while presenting their findings to at the American Society of Hypertension annual conference in May, 2013 stated that “yoga can have a significant impact on lowering blood pressure in certain populations.”

Another study was carried out by scientists at the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. This study was actually a review of 7 randomized control trials involving a total of 452 participants. These trials were aimed at studying the effect of yoga on patients with varying degrees of high blood pressure.

The study findings which were published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that yoga can reduce systolic blood pressure by up to 10mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 7mm Hg. The study also found that the effectiveness of yoga was more pronounced with advancement in the levels of high blood pressure i.e. those who were experiencing full blown high blood pressure benefited the most from yoga. In some cases, the reductions took as few as 8 weeks.

These two studies are just the tip of the iceberg. Several other research studies have concluded that yoga can help in combating high blood pressure. This study review published in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, highlights some of those studies. The ultimate question is, “how does yoga help in reducing high blood pressure?”

How Yoga Helps

outdoor_group_yoga_classes

The real mechanism of how yoga works to reduce high blood pressure hasn’t yet been verified beyond reasonable doubt. However, most scientists postulate that yoga possibly works by reducing anxiety, stress and overall tension in the body.

Stress and anxiety are considered some of the major drivers of high blood pressure. Numerous studies have implicated stress as not only being a cause, but also an intensifier of high blood pressure. One of the major health recommendations given to people with elevated blood pressure is to strive to control their stress and anxiety levels.

Yoga has always been known as the perfect natural remedy for stress and anxiety. In fact, in many psychological and psychiatric circles, yoga is now considered a standard alternative regime for stress and anxiety disorders. It works by providing mental peace and  tranquility which ultimately leads to a relaxation of a person’s physical body.

For a person suffering from high blood pressure, such physical relaxation is invaluable. It ensures that any tension in the muscles, arteries and veins is eliminated. This in turn ensures that the physical triggers of high blood pressure are effectively dealt with. As such, the blood pressure falls to its normal level. When practiced over a prolonged period, it leads to a significant decrease in both the average blood pressure, and in the incidents and severity of blood pressure spikes.

Which Yoga Practices Help

yoga lower high blood pressure

The yoga practices which can help to lower blood pressure include pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and selected series of yoga asanas (poses).

Pranayama has been proven as an effective remedy for dealing with anxiety, stress and depression. Several studies have proved this. Given that such conditions can be active triggers of high blood pressure, breathing techniques can be effective for controlling and lowering blood pressure. Dr. David Friedman, a cardiologist at the North Shore-LIJ Plainview Hospital in New York was quoted in a WebMD article identifying breathing exercises as particularly effective for dealing with high blood pressure. One of the pranayama techniques will be Alternate Nostrils Breathing that starts the cycle from the left nostril.

Meditation has been identified as one of the most effective natural remedies for dealing with high blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) has endorsed meditation as effective for improving general heart health and controlling blood pressure. This AHA article cites several reputable studies linking meditation to lower blood pressure. Learn the technique of meditating scientifically to regulate blood pressure.

Some asanas have been proven to be an effective remedy for high blood pressure. One specific posture which has been cited as being particularly effective is the Savasana (Corpse Pose). Two research studies published in the british medical journal, The Lancet, found practicing Savasana to reduce blood pressure by up to 20mm over a period of just 12 weeks. Other asanas include the entire series of seated forward folds.

However, not all yoga practices are helpful for reducing blood pressure. There are certain asanas which can actually exacerbate blood pressure. These are typically asanas which position the heart at a higher elevation than the head. Examples include the Headstand, Handstand, Feathered Peacock Pose and King Pigeon Pose. You can see illustrations of these and other poses in this article. For someone who has high blood pressure, such poses should be avoided.

In a nutshell, yoga can be an effective remedy for dealing with high blood pressure. It can help to reduce your blood pressure in a safe, natural and effective manner. This doesn’t mean that you’ll no longer take your meds. It means that even the meds will be much more effective. But then again, not all yoga practices are beneficial for high blood pressure, further studies are still needed.

This is why you need guidance – a private instructor to guide you through the best yoga practices for dealing with high blood pressure. With such an instructor, you can be able to reap the full benefits of yoga. This is where we come in. Contact me today, and let me help you manage your blood pressure in a natural, simple and effective manner.

Namaste

Celestine Lau