Rafa

Yoga is a therapy that involves both the mind and the body. Additionally, it may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some studies suggest that it can alleviate the symptoms of certain diseases. It is also said to improve a person’s general well-being and reduce inflammation. But among its benefits, can yoga lower blood pressure? If you want to find out the answer to this question, just read on.

Yoga for high blood pressure

A study published in 2013 and called Effectiveness of Yoga for Hypertension: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis suggests that yoga can be recommended as an effective intervention for lowering blood pressure as it produces a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The results are backed by other research studies, such as the Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine paper published in 2011. In this case, the participants in the study were split up into two groups.

While one of the groups merely made dietary adjustments, the other performed Iyengar yoga for as many as twelve weeks. What’s worth noting is that these individuals had no experience with yoga before and hadn’t thought of using it for lowering blood pressure.

At the end of the test phase, the group that performed Iyengar yoga had made considerable improvements in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

There are many other research studies that you might come across if you’re looking to find out whether yoga poses for high blood pressure are effective. The one that we described here had only 57 participants. Additional research is always necessary when it comes to alternative therapies.

So, can yoga lower blood pressure? In most cases, it can. However, this is mostly true in people who do not require pharmaceutical treatment for their high blood pressure. If they combine yoga with dietary changes, they can regulate their blood pressure even more.

Hypertension

Yoga can be an effective intervention for lowering blood pressure.

Yoga poses for high blood pressure

There are many yoga poses to lower blood pressure that you can use right in the comfort of your home. However, we advise you to first consider getting some guidance, even online, from a professional.

If you are out of shape, you could endanger your health with yoga or other types of exercise. That’s why you should first have a talk with your physician. A medical professional will give you the right advice as per your health status.

Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a calming inversion pose that stretches your hamstrings and hips. It is considered a safe pose for people who take medication for their high blood pressure.

Place your mat in such a way so that it is perpendicular to a wall on level ground. Sit parallel to the wall on your mat and then lie down with your feet on the ground and your knees bent.

Pick up your feet. Swing your torso so that it is perpendicular to the wall by using your upper tailbone and your lower back. Then place your sitting bones against the wall base.

When you feel comfortable and ready enough, extend your legs up the wall. If you feel that your lower back might need more support, you can use a cushion. Don’t go too high if you are scared or if your doctor doesn’t recommend it.

To avoid adding too much pressure on your neck, keep your shoulder blades in contact with the ground all the time. You can also rest your arms (palms up) next to you.

Don’t go to high and avoid too much pressure on your neck.

Bridge Pose

This pose alleviates stress, calms your brain, and also regulates blood pressure. It’s rather easy to do even for someone who has no prior experience with yoga at all. You can use this pose to strengthen your glutes, abdominals, and hamstrings.

Even though it’s gentle, it can help you get rid of both hip and back pain, all the while strengthening your core.

To do this pose, start by lying on the floor and bending your knees. Set your feet on the ground, with your heels close to your sitting bones. Then exhale, and while pressing your arms and inner feet into the floor, push your tailbone to the sky, firming your bottom and lifting it from the ground.

Try to keep your inner feet and your thighs as parallel as possible. Clasp your hands below your pelvis and extend them to stay on the tops of your shoulders. Then lift your behind until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground.

Keep your knees right over your heels, pushing them forward from your hips. Lengthen your tailbone and lift your pubis to your navel.

Firm your shoulder blades against your back, lift your chin away from your sternum, and press the latter toward your chin. Broaden your shoulder blades, firm your outer arms, and lift the space between them at your neck base and up into your torso.

Maintain the pose for thirty seconds to one minute. Release by rolling your spine onto the ground and exhaling.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Bridge Pose is gentle but it can help you get rid of hip and back pain.

Bound Angle Pose

This pose stimulates circulation even though it is a seated one. With its help, you will be able to increase your flexibility and gradually open your hips. Bound Angle Pose works your lower back muscles and stretches your hips and inner thighs.

To do this pose, begin by sitting on your mat and bringing your soles together in front of you. Bend your knees and pull the heels toward your pelvis. Drop your knees to the sides and press your soles together.

Then with your first and second fingers, grasp the big toe of each of your feet. Sit so that your pubis in your front and your tailbone in the back are equidistant from the floor.

While your pelvis should be in a neutral position, your perineum should be almost parallel to the ground.

Firm your shoulder blades and your sacrum against your back and then lengthen your front torso through the top of your sternum. Avoid pushing your knees down too much. Ground into the floor while extending through the crown of your head.

Don’t try this pose if you have recently hurt your knee or have any particular knee sensitivity. If you still want to try it, you should place a block under your knees so as to reduce the pressure.

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend

This pose stretches your hips, hamstrings, and groin muscles. It’s particularly great for runners as they are prone to having tight hamstrings. Plus, the pose is restorative and known to calm your mind, relieve stress, and offer pain relief for cramps.

Sit in the Staff Pose (Dandasana) with both of your legs stretched out in front of you. Adjust the muscles under your bottom so that your sit bones are anchored correctly. Then bend your left knee and bring its sole to your inner thigh.

Square the torso over the extended right leg and start to bring down your torso to your leg by tipping your hips forward. The bend should begin from your hips, not from your lower back.

Keep your right foot extended and press the back of your right thigh into the floor. When you can’t bend anymore, you can either maintain your spine and neck straight and long in an active way or you can relax your head and heart down toward your right leg. This will let your spine round.

Trust your instincts; do what feels natural to you. Hold your foot if your hands reach it, but if they don’t, hold onto your calf or ankle. Exhale when bending forward and inhale when extending your spine.

Maintain each position for up to 10 breaths and then repeat the pose on your other side.

Cobra Pose

Also known as Bhujangasana, Cobra Pose promotes heart health, helps your circulation, and also relieves stress. It’s highly recommended for people who have asthma, too.

In this pose, you will be imitating the moves of a snake. Start by lying on the floor and stretching your legs back, with the tops of your feet on the ground. Spread your hands under your shoulders and then hug your elbows back into the body.

Press the tops of your feet, thighs, and pubis into the ground. As you inhale, straighten your arms and lift your chest off the floor. Go only to the height you feel comfortable at and still keep a connection through your pubis to the legs.

Press your tailbone to your pubis and lift it toward your navel. Then narrow your hip points and firm your bottom. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, lift through the top of your sternum, and then distribute the bend throughout your whole spine.

You can hold this pose for anywhere from fifteen to thirty seconds. Exhale as you release back to the floor.

Bhujangasana

Cobra pose also promotes heart health, helps circulation, and relieves stress.

Yoga poses to avoid with high blood pressure

People who are out of shape and who begin exercising with a lot of enthusiasm might not only hurt their bodies, but they also run a high risk of stroke.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you always have to be comfortable, at ease, and avoid overdoing it.

Just as there are many yoga poses that you can try if your blood pressure is high, there are some you should steer clear of. Here they are.

  • Headstand
  • Forearm stand
  • Handstand
  • Shoulder stand
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Standing Forward Bend
  • Backbend

Yoga and lifestyle changes

Approximately one in every three Americans has high blood pressure. That makes up for almost eighty million adults. High blood pressure can increase your risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke. As such, making small, yet significant changes in your lifestyle is a way of preventing these health problems.

Even if you have already started using yoga for this purpose, you might get better results if you try additional things. Eating a healthy diet, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight are some of them. Let’s look at some food recommendations that could help you lower your blood pressure.

What foods lower blood pressure?

If you are looking to go beyond exercise and you want to make changes to your diet, too, here is a list of foods that can lower blood pressure.

  • Leafy greens

Some leafy greens have a higher potassium content, which makes it possible for your kidneys to eliminate more sodium. Naturally getting rid of sodium like this can lower your blood pressure.

Several examples of leafy greens that are rich in potassium are collard greens, spinach, arugula, kale, romaine lettuce, and Swiss chard.

  • Red beets

Beets contain nitric oxide, which lowers blood pressure and opens up your blood vessels. Beetroot is very healthy for you, and you can cook it in the oven, add it raw to salads, to stews, or stir-fries.

  • Fish with omega-3s

Some fish species, such as mackerel and salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are widely known for reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and even lowering triglycerides.

Plus, since fish is so easy to cook, you aren’t going to have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found only in fish, krill, and several types of seeds.

  • Olive oil

Olive oil is considered a healthy fat. It has inflammation-fighting capabilities thanks to its polyphenol content. You can use it to cook sauces, dips, and dressings, but do keep in mind that it’s not the ideal type of oil for cooking. Plus, it’s healthy when it’s raw, not heated.

  • Pomegranates

A pomegranate is another healthy food to eat if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. It will help regulate your blood pressure and it also contains vitamin C and a variety of nutrients that will keep your health in check.

Ideally, you should make your own pomegranate juice or eat the raw fruit. The store-bought varieties often contain too much sugar and even sodium, which you should avoid.

  • Berries

Berries contain flavonoids, which have been found to lower blood pressure and even prevent hypertension from ever being developed.

Some examples of berries that are rich in flavonoids are strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. In this case, too, they are best served raw or added to smoothies or your granola.

Reducing your salt intake by around 50% can be another way of lowering your blood pressure -and don’t forget that the salt you add to your meals is not the main issue but the salt that’s already in some foods such as processed ones-. These days, there are many salt replacers available, which you can use when you cook at home.

Final thoughts

Use the poses that we have mentioned and practice them for at least 30 minutes, 4-5 days a week, and you will see the results.

In the end, you can keep your blood pressure in check by taking several measures, not just one. If you do not want to end up on medication for a long time or even for the rest of your life, start making changes in your lifestyle as soon as possible.

Have you tried anything in particular that had a great effect in lowering your blood pressure? Something that didn’t work at all?

Let us know in the comments so all can learn different way of keeping our blood pressure where it should be!

Rafa

Co-founder of MB Zen, digital nomad and freedom seeker. Loves developing projects that improve people’s lives. Functional training, yoga, and healthy eating define his lifestyle since he got his back injured. Fell in love with Yin yoga from the very first session though he won’t say no to any other kind of yoga.