Which Yoga Poses You Should Avoid If You Have High Blood Pressure
Not all yoga poses are beneficial in curing high blood pressure. There are few which may have adverse effects if practised by someone suffering from hypertension. Find below two such yoga poses which a person with hypertension should avoid.
- Headstand position should not be practised by people with hypertension because a sudden gush of the blood from the heart to the head can put pressure on the nerves and cause brain haemorrhage resulting in strokes.
- Viparita Karani or legs up the wall pose is a gentle pose to relax your body however, it should be avoided by people suffering from hypertension because in this pose too, the head is at a lower level than the heart.
Yoga Poses To Avoid If You Have High Blood Pressure
Kristin McGeeYoga and Pilates Instructor
Kristin is a yoga and pilates instructor helping students and private clients on their path to wellness. Shes worked with celebrities including Tina Fey, Steve Martin and Leann Rimes, as well as nutritionists and other yoga/Pilates instructors. View more
Yoga has amazing benefits such as increased flexibility, better concentration, less stress, stronger bones and muscles, and much more. But for some people with certain conditions, yoga needs to be practiced with extra safety.
If you are new to yoga and have high blood pressure, there are certain poses you need to avoid. If you have high blood pressure and are looking to welcome in a nourishing new daily routine, this free 30 Day Meditation practice could be something great for you to try! Youll soon start to notice the mind, body and soul benefits.
Yoga Asanas To Control High Blood Pressure
- Bhujangasana- Bhujangasana helps in controlling high blood pressure. This asana will also keep your heart healthy besides helping you to achieve a fit body. Do it for at least 25-50 times.
- Mandukasana- Several people suffer from blood pressure due to acidity. By doing mandukasana, you can keep diabetes at bay.
- Ardha Halasana- This asana helps in removing thighs and belly fat. Also, it controls blood pressure.
- Shashankasana – This asana helps in keeping your mind at peace and ease irritation. It is also helpful in keeping liver and kidneys fit.
- Sthit konasana- This asana is helpful in controlling blood pressure. It is also good for heart health and helps in losing weight.
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Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Sit on the front end of a bolster and belt the tops of your thighs together. With your knees bent and your feet on the floor, lie back onto the bolster. Using your feet to push against the floor, slide off the bolster just until the tops of your shoulders reach the floor and are at the same level as your head. Then extend your legs straight, backs of the heels on the floor.
Roll the outer edges of the shoulders underneath you and broaden your chest as you lengthen your arms alongside the bolster. Turn the upper arms out and the palms toward the ceiling. If your lower back aches or feels compressed, elevate your feet on a support and lengthen the sacrum and buttocks toward your heels.
Relax your throat and allow the root of the tongue to descend toward the back of the throat. You can close your eyes and gaze inwardly toward your chest so that your forehead and cheeks soften and release completely. Relax the area between the eyebrows and around the temples.
Stay in this pose for as long as you like, up to 10 minutes. You should feel completely relaxed.
On an exhalation, bend your knees, push your feet into the floor and slide toward your head, off the bolster, until your entire back comes to the floor. Rest the backs of your legs on the bolster for a few moments and then roll over to your right side and sit up.
After sitting up, you can cross your legs and bend forward to rest your forehead on the bolster. If your head doesnt reach, elevate the bolster.
Stress: The Culprit Of Hypertension
Blood pressurethe force blood exerts against the walls of your arteries as it travels through the circulatory systemfluctuates during the day, increasing during exertion or stress and decreasing when the body is at rest. Most doctors agree that a blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 is ideal for adults, and diagnose hypertension when those numbers reach 140/90. The top number refers to the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart beats or contracts. The bottom number measures the diastolic pressure, or how much pressure remains in the arteries between beats, when the heart is relaxed.
A high-stress lifestyle can lead to what doctors call “essential” hypertension, where there is no disease-specific cause.
Although several conditions can cause secondary high blood pressure , more often than not a high-stress lifestyle can lead to what doctors call essential hypertension, where there is no disease-specific cause.
Yoga, when performed mindfully, can reduce this type of stress-induced hypertension, while addressing its underlying causes. It pacifies the sympathetic nervous system and slows down the heart, while teaching the muscles and mind to relax deeply.
Yoga can reduce stress-induced hypertension, while addressing its underlying causes. It pacifies the sympathetic nervous system and slows down the heart, while teaching the muscles and mind to relax deeply.
Research studies demonstrate that conscious breathing quickly lowers blood pressure.
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What Yoga Poses Are Good For High Blood Pressure
Just because you have high blood pressure, it doesnt mean that you cant practice yoga. Any pose that puts the spine in a horizontal position and doesnt invert the body is generally a safe pose to practice. These poses usually make it easier to distribute your blood through your entire body and wont get your heart racing. Here are some yoga poses that are good for high blood pressure:
Seated Forward Fold
If a standing forward fold makes you feel dizzy, try this supported seated forward fold. This variation is more accessible for practitioners with hypertension.
To practice Seated Forward Fold:
- Start in Seated Staff Pose with your legs out in front of you, your feet flexed, and your spine straight.
- Gently begin to walk your hands forward toward your toes and rest your hands on your thighs, shins, or ankles.
- Flex your toes back and keep your legs strong and active.
- Take your belly toward your thighs and your chest toward your knees.
- Keep your spine straight and your side body long.
- Relax your shoulders and keep your gaze toward your toes instead of relaxing your forehead down toward your legs.
- Focus on lengthening the spine and stay for 5 breaths.
Bound Angle Pose
This pose can help you release stress and tension in the hip. Keep your head lifted and your spine straight instead of folding forward.
To practice Bound Angle:
Supported Bridge Pose
To practice Supported Bridge:
To practice Corpse pose:
Yoga For Heart Disease Risk Factors
Yoga also offers other health benefits for people with high blood pressure. A large analysis of 44 clinical trials, involving 3,68 people, found that, compared to no treatment, yoga:
- improved blood pressure by 5.85/4.12 mmHg
- reduced heart rate by an average of 6.59 beats per minute
- Slowed respiratory rate by almost 1 breath per minutes
- reduced waist circumference by 1.95 cm
- lowered total cholesterol by 13.09 mg/dl and very low density LDL cholesterol by 5.70 mg/dl
- increased good HDL cholesterol by 2.94 mg/dl
- reduced triglycerides by 20.97 mg/dl
- improved glucose control and insulin resistance.
This suggests that practicing yoga has clinically important effects that can significantly lower your risk of heart disease or stroke.
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The Effects Of Yoga On High Blood Pressure
Youve heard the bad news: High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other unhealthy cardiovascular events. Traditionally treatment has been medication, diet, exercise, and no smoking or alcohol. The good news is that recent studies and reviews have shown theres a lot you can do to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range, including starting a yoga practice.
High blood pressure is a medical condition in which the pressure of the blood pushing against the blood vessel walls is persistently high. High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. When blood pressure is high for prolonged periods, hardening of the arteries, heart failure, and other ailments can develop. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury using two numbers, for example 120/80. The first number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Blood pressure of 140/90 and above is considered high. Raised diastolic pressure is considered more serious than raised systolic pressure as it has more serious long-term effects.
Deergha Swasam : This is a deep breathing technique that floods the system with up to seven times more oxygen than normal breathing.
Naddi Shoddi : This is very calming to the nervous system as a whole.
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.
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Home Remedies For High Blood Pressure
- Drink bottle gourd juice every morning
- Have pumpkin seeds with honey
- Have 3 spoons of apple cider vinegar with water
- Consume turmeric milk with cinnamon
- Have honey with water in morning
- Eating watermelon daily is also helpful
- Have 2 garlic cloves every morning
- Cut a piece of bottle gourd and rub it on your foot sole. This will control blood pressure.
Which Are The Best Yoga Poses For High Blood Pressure And Which Should You Avoid
Yoga can be a very beneficial therapy for controlling and lowering high blood pressure naturally. The gentle, soothing practice of yoga asanas settles both mind and body and reduces stressa leading cause of hypertension.
If you choose the right yoga poses, yoga can help to switch on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and repair, and turn off the sympathetic nervous system, used for the fight-or-flight stress response.
Increased parasympathetic activity has a beneficial effect on many systems in the body, and allows the nervous system to become more balanced. This is one way in which practicing yoga for high bp can help free up the bodys inherent healing response to reduce blood pressure naturally.
Used corrrectly, yoga can be a great therapy for high blood pressure. However, there are some cautions that need to be considered, and you are best off working with a yoga therapist that can personally tailor your practice of yoga, if you have high blood pressure.
If you are on hypertensive medication, you will want to continue your medication and only phase it out under a doctors supervision. Even though your high blood pressure is lowered by medication, it is not stable at that lower reading. So even if your blood pressure has been lowered to normal levels by medication, it is still important to go by the following precautions when practicing yoga with high blood pressure.
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Virasana With Extended Exhale Breathing
Why it helps with high blood pressure: Yoga practices that include breath work have been shown to provide the most benefit to your blood pressure. Lengthening your exhale activates your calming nervous system, relieving stress and lowering your blood pressure.
How to practice: Kneel with your legs hip-width distance apart and the tops of your feet pointing straight behind you. Have a block or folded blanket available to sit on for comfort. Sit back either on the floor between your feet or on a block placed between your feet. Sit tall, reaching the crown of your head up and lengthening the back of your neck. If your feel any knee discomfort, sit higher on additional blocks or blankets. Rest your hands comfortably on your thighs and allow your eyes to close. Bring your attention to your breath. Notice the length of your inhale and exhale.
After a few normal breaths, begin to lengthen your exhale to be a few counts longer than your inhale. For example, inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 6. Find the count that works for you. At all times, your breathing should be relaxed and comfortable, never strained. Stay with the extended exhale breathing for 35 minutes, or as long as is comfortable.
The Supported Bridge Pose
An excellent pose that’s used for reducing blood pressure is the supported bridge pose. You will need two yoga bolsters or two large couch cushions and some firm folded blankets. You may also need a washcloth.
Place your folded blankets in two stacks, end to end, on top of the bolsters or the couch cushions. Because each persons body proportions are different, the height varies, but the props should be just high enough to let the shoulders touch the floor lightly. The height should be even for the entire length of the body.
Straddle the bolster and lie back so that your shoulders just lightly touch the floor. If the props feel too low or too high, roll to the side, use your arms to sit up, and adjust them by adding or taking away blankets.
Once you are in position, pay attention to your neck. If it feels as if your chin is forced downward too much, come out of the pose as indicated above. Fold the washcloth and place it under the large vertebrae at the base of your neck to lift the back of the neck up and create a more normal arch.
If your lower back is uncomfortable in this pose, try bending your knees, either placing your feet on the cushions or on the floor. Put your arms out to the sides in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and keep the breath easy and soft. Stay in the pose 5 to 15 minutes.
Do not practice this pose if you are pregnant or have diagnosed disc disease in your lower back.
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The Poses You Practice Matter
While a general yoga practice has a pacifying effect and can bring the nervous system into balance, some asanas work better than others for actually lowering blood pressure, and simple modifications make others more beneficial. For example, do cooling poses, such as forward bends where the head is supported to bring a sense of calm to the head, neck, face, and diaphragm. Modify any standing poses in which the arms are normally extended overhead ) by placing your hands on your hips. In Trikonasana , look down toward the floor instead of up at the ceiling to keep blood pressure from rising. Steer clear of poses that compress the front of the diaphragm, such as Dhanurasana and Mayurasana , which can drive blood pressure up.
Anyone with untreated high blood pressure should avoid unsupported inversions, such as Sirsasana or Adho Mukha Vrksasana or any other pose in which they can feel pressure in the throat or temples, or that cause respiration to become heavy or difficult.
Practicing a modified Halasana is a good way to experience the benefits of inversions without the potentially harmful effects, because you can learn to bear weight on the upper body and lengthen the sides of the neck without any strain. So if your blood pressure reads on the high side, stick to the modified version below.
Yoga Linked To Lowered Blood Pressure With Regular Practice
5 Min Read
– Adults who practice yoga with breathing and relaxation exercises at least three times a week may have lower blood pressure than people who dont, a research review suggests.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 49 trials with a total of 3,517 participants who were typically middle-aged, overweight women and men who already had high blood pressure or were close to developing the condition. These smaller trials assessed blood pressure before and after participants were randomly assigned either to doing yoga or to a control group without exercise programs.
Overall, the people in the yoga groups experienced average reductions in systolic blood pressure of 5 mmHG more than those in the control groups, and diastolic blood pressure was reduced by 3.9 mmHG more with yoga.
When people with high blood pressure did yoga three times a week in sessions that also included breathing and relaxation exercises, they experienced average decreases of 11 mmHG more than control groups in systolic blood pressure and 6 mmHG more in diastolic blood pressure.
Our results not only showed that yoga can be just as, or even more effective than aerobic exercise to reduce blood pressure but also quantitatively showed the importance of emphasizing yoga breathing techniques and mental relaxation/meditation along with physical forms during practice, said lead study author Yin Wu, a researcher in kinesiology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
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Yoga Optimizes Cardiac Output
Your cardiac output is the amount of blood your heart pumps each minute. It is determined by your heart rate and the amount of blood pumped with each beat.
Yoga can stimulate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous functions of your heartbeat to maintain a normal rate of cardiac output. It can also regulate the production of hormones like thyroid, glucagon, and epinephrine, which too influence your heart rate.
Yoga will also have a significant impact on the volume of blood that goes into your right ventricle. If the blood volume received in your right ventricle is normal, the volume of blood pumped out of your left ventricle will also be normal, which implies normal blood pressure.