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High blood pressure or hypertension is a serious condition that leads to heart attacks, strokes, and even death. This ‘silent killer’ is all the more dangerous because it displays no symptoms. So, the only way you can find out is by getting yourself checked regularly. The next logical step is, of course, to know how to control high blood pressure.

Yoga and pranayama are two natural ways to control high blood pressure.

What is hypertension or high blood pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood in your arteries. The right pressure varies from person to person and needs to be regulated. Only then will your system function smoothly. The American Heart Association considers 120/80 as the standard blood pressure limit. Pre-hypertension is when your parameter is between 120/80 and 140/90. Anything above 140/90 is hypertension and is dangerous.

What causes high blood pressure

  • Hypertension is an independent condition which means that it is not triggered by other medical conditions like diabetes, heart-related problems or kidney malfunctioning.
  • Stress is a significant factor that causes hypertension. When you are stressed, your heart beats faster, and your blood vessels contract.
  • Other factors such as adverse lifestyle choices including smoking, drinking, drug abuse also cause harm.
  • If you do not exercise enough or are overweight, you could be heading towards hypertension.

How to control high blood pressure

Neither high nor low blood pressure is desirable; balance is essential in the body. While healthy dietary habits contribute to maintaining balance, you cannot ignore the role played by the mind either. So, how can you harmonize the two? The answer lies in the ancient science of yoga. By regularly practicing simple postures, yoga will help you combat blood pressure problems.

The Why: Yoga for high blood pressure

  • Yoga asanas involve breathing consciously and deeply while synchronizing your body movements. They can help control blood pressure naturally, primarily by relieving stress.
  • Yoga asanas can soothe the nerves and help slow down an abnormal heart rate.
  • Yoga helps in increasing immunity and reducing incidences of heart problems like heart attacks and strokes.
  • Lack of sufficient rest is the primary reason for stress and hypertension. Yoga helps regularize sleep habits and patterns.
  • Obesity can also lead to hypertension. Regular practice of yoga and an improved diet regulates body weight.
  • Yoga gives positive energy to the body and mind. It makes you happier and more hopeful in life. In the long run, this helps to regulate blood pressure levels.

The How: Yoga for high blood pressure

The following yoga asanas can help lower high blood pressure. However, it would be best to practice them under the guidance of a trained specialist.

List of effective Yoga asanas for high blood pressure

  1. Shishuasana (Child Pose)
  2. Vajrasana (Diamond Pose)
  3. Paschimottanasana (Forward Bend Pose)
  4. Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
  5. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
  6. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist)
  7. Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)
  8. Janusirsasana (One-legged Forward Bend)
  9. Virasana (hero pose)
  10. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
  11. Ardha halasana (half plow pose)
  • Shishuasana (Child Pose)

Relieves stress and fatigue. It also normalizes blood circulation.

This pose can be done even after lunch or dinner. It helps to control obesity and increases blood flow to the lower abdomen.

  • Paschimottanasana (Forward Bend Pose)

Paschimottanasana Helps reduce fatty deposits in the abdominal region, thus enabling weight loss. It also acts as an effective stress reliever and normalizes high blood pressure.

Relieves stress, depression, and fatigue. It helps the body relax and prepare for sound sleep. It also stimulates blood circulation. You could also practice the yoga nidra.

  • Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

This meditative pose calms and unites the body and mind. It helps reduce high blood pressure as it makes your body more balanced and your mind, free and joyful.

Stimulates the heart and nervous system, helping to normalize high blood pressure.

Stimulates the heart and leads to better circulation of blood all over the body. It also relieves stress and weariness.

Works effectively on your tummy fat by massaging your abdominal organs. By affecting weight loss, it helps regulate the pressure of the blood so that it stays at a normal level.

  • Virasana (hero pose)

Increases blood circulation around the legs and helps in regulating blood pressure.

Energizes the kidneys and soothes the nervous system. It helps to regulate the blood pressure in the body.

  • Ardha halasana (half plow pose)

Helps burn fat in the thighs, abdomen, and hips. It also helps control high blood pressure.

Pranayamas for high blood pressure

Apart from yoga asanas, these pranayamas or breathing exercises can also help control your blood pressure levels

  1. Bhastrika Pranayama (Breath of Fire)
  2. Kapal bhati pranayama (skull shining breathing technique)
  3. Bhramari pranayama (bee breath)
  4. Nadi shodhan pranayama (alternate nostril breathing technique)
  5. Full yogic breathing

Bhastrika Pranayama (Breath of Fire)

Increases oxygen supply to all parts of the body, thus improving blood circulation. It relieves stress and hypertension.

  • Kapal bhati (skull shining breathing technique)

Helps remove fat from the belly region and is useful in general weight loss.

  • Bhramari pranayama (bee breath)

in Bhastrika pranayama the vibrations generated by this pranayama resonate within and deeply relax the body and mind. It relieves tension and anxiety and also helps balance high blood pressure.

  • Nadi shodhan pranayama (alternate nostril breathing technique)

Nadi shodhan Pranayama is tha calming and powerful pranayama helps to remove blockages in your arteries to a great extent. It also improves blood circulation in the head region.

  • Full yogic breathing

Helps you breathe slowly. If your heart rate is too fast, this technique helps slow it down and relaxes your whole body.

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Precautions to observe

Avoid inverted poses like Shirshasana (headstand pose) or adho mukha vrksasana (handstand pose). In these poses, your head is at a lower level than your heart which can lead to a sudden and uncontrolled rush of blood to the head.

It is always best to club yoga and pranayama with healthier lifestyle choices. To control high blood pressure, regulate your diet and avoid habits such as smoking and drinking. Take one step at a time and don’t be in a rush for results. You will then find a smooth path to holistic healing for your blood pressure problems.

Do you have low blood pressure? Find out how you can tackle hypotension.