How to Lower Blood Pressure With Yoga

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to stroke or heart attack and put extra stress on your cardiovascular system. Practicing yoga is an effective way to eliminate physical and psychological stress and is a proven, natural method of lowering blood pressure. Restorative yoga using supports -- like rolled blankets or yoga blocks -- allows your body to move easily and comfortably achieve certain poses. Restorative yoga promotes a deep sense of relaxation and contributes to general health and well-being. While yoga alone cannot cure high blood pressure, it can decrease the negative impacts of stress and is an effective supplement to your doctor’s recommendations.

Breathing and Relaxation

  • Yogic breathing, or pranayama, increases oxygen supply in your body. This lowers anxiety and works to slow and normalize your heart rate. Controlled deep breathing also lowers the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. To achieve these benefits, try Alternate Nostril Breathing. Begin seated on your mat in a cross-legged position. You may want to place a rolled towel under your buttocks for added comfort. Press your right nostril closed with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril. Exhale, then switch sides to press your left nostril closed using your right pinky. Inhale and exhale through your right nostril. Continue moving back and forth between sides, alternating your breath for 10 rounds.

Supported Child’s Pose

  • Child’s pose calms the mind, which is part of your central nervous system, to relieve stress and tension, and less stress can help your blood pressure decrease. Begin kneeling on your mat, sitting on your heels with your big toes together. Open your knees about hip-width apart. Place a rolled blanket or towel between your knees as support. Exhale and bend forward to drape your upper body onto the support. You can keep your arms extended straight in front of you or rest them on the floor alongside your body with your palms up. Both arm positions are fine; the choice depends on which is more comfortable for you. Remain in the pose for one to three minutes.

Supported Bridge Pose

  • Bridge pose massages and stimulates your kidneys, helping them to function properly to remove waste and extra fluid. Less excess fluid helps blood pressure decrease. Move into a reclined position, lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet pressing into the floor. Inhale and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Place a yoga block on the floor underneath your sacrum and lower onto the block, allowing it to support you in this position. Place your arms at your sides and press your palms into the floor. Hold for one to three minutes.

Corpse Pose

  • Corpse pose promotes deep relaxation and lowers your heart rate and respiration rate, which can help lower your blood pressure. In this modification, your spine is supported by a rolled blanket or towel, thus opening your chest cavity and allowing more oxygen to enter your body. Place a support behind you and lie down onto it, with your legs extended straight. Rest your arms at your sides with your palms facing up. Close your eyes and focus on relaxing each muscle of your body, beginning with the feet and working up through your neck and face. Breathe deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Hold the pose for five to 10 minutes.

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  • Photo Credit Nicole S. Young/iStock/Getty Images
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