Gentle yoga can help lower blood pressure

A growing number of studies indicate yoga can be very beneficial therapy for controlling and lowering high blood pressure naturally. 


Harvard Medical School reported several small studies found yoga to have positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors.  Yoga helped lower blood pressure in people with hypertension by restoring “baroreceptor sensitivity” (helps the body sense imbalances in blood pressure and maintain balance.

  

One study found that practicing yoga improved lipid profiles in healthy patients as well as patients with known coronary artery disease. It also lowered excessive blood sugar levels in people with non-insulin dependent diabetes and reduced their need for medications.


John Hopkins Medicine reported a study of patients with heart failure who went through an eight-week yoga program showed improvement in exercise capacity and quality of life. They also had lower blood levels of markers for inflammation, which contributes to heart disease.


Practiced correctly, yoga can be a great therapy for high blood pressure. Contraindications when practicing yoga with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease include yoga asanas (poses) that put the body in an inverted position ie: legs higher than the heart.  You should avoid shoulder stand, headstand, and even the gentle relaxing legs up the wall pose.


Generally, calming restorative yoga is best and poses that include long held stretching.  For blood pressure control, may want to try Yoga for Back, Hip, & Joint Pain Relief.  This is a restorative yoga class that offers beneficial breath-work and gentle stretching.

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Kirsten Erickson, C-IAYT, YACEP, E-RYT200, RYT500, iRest® Yoga Nidra Level 1 Teacher, Yoga Wellness North