Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. This can be aggravated by things like daily/chronic stress, a bad diet, too little exercise, and excess body weight. The causes are usually a mix of lifestyle and genetic, and the treatment to reduce hypertension are lifestyle changes, and medication where necessary. Because this condition (depending on the severity) can respond very well to lifestyle changes, such as increased exercise, mediation, and diet changes, yoga can be a helpful tool to utilise if you’re at risk, or are currently suffering from, this condition.

Today we’re looking at yoga exercises for high blood pressure. The reason yoga is so effective at reducing hypertension is because yoga has been shown to have a positive effect on the body’s response to stress. When you stretch, you are literally releasing tension from the muscles, and the combination of breathing and asanas helps the practitioner to mindfully slow down the heart rate, pacify the sympathetic nervous system (the body’s “fight or flight” mode which is activated as a response to stress), and teach the body and mind to relax deeply. Pranayama, or breathwork, has also been shown to have a positive effect on hypertension, so as well as yoga poses to lower hypertension, we’ll be including some simple pranayama exercises you can perform at home to lower the blood pressure.

Yoga asanas can help you control BP; as neither a high, nor low, blood pressure is desirable. We want to find a balance. As a general rule, if you know you are suffering with high blood pressure, you should avoid intense inversions, like Sirsasana (Headstand) or Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and opt for something more restorative like Viparita Karani (Waterfall), or a supported Halasana (Plough).

Here is a simple sequence you can do at home today:

From seated, on your knees, take VIRASANA (Hero pose) and take a few deep breaths. Begin with your UJJAYI BREATH (Ocean breath), creating a slight constriction at the back of the throat, breath slowly and mindfully down into the belly. Maintain throughout practice. Next, bow the body forward over the legs and come into BALASANA (Child’s pose).

Sit up and extend the legs out in front of you. Fold forward into PASCHIMOTTANASANA (Forward fold) and take 5 breaths. Come up and bring the sole of the right foot to the inside of the thigh, fold forward into JANU SIRSASANA (Head-to-knee pose), take 5 breaths. Keep the right leg where it is, place the sole of the left foot to the outside of the right thigh to find your ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA (Half Lord of the Fishes), your seated twist. Inhale to find length in the spine, exhale to twist. Repeat on the second side.

Lay on your back, bring the right leg towards you for SUPTA PADANGUSTHASANA (Reclining Hand-to-big-toe pose). Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the left. Relax into SAVASANA and practice SAMA VRITTI (equal breathing) inhaling and exhaling for 4 counts. Do this for a few minutes and then rest in Savasana for at least 6 minutes.
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Author's Bio: 

Our school provides Yoga Teacher Training with a holiday environment, inviting students from all corners of the globe to be a part of our Yoga Teacher Training Community here in Goa. Our best Yoga Teacher Training in India bring together traditions of the east alongside a contemporary modern approach to yoga. Our Yoga TTC in Goa, India are taught in a fun and progressive environment allowing time for students to take full advantage of the incredible beach culture in Goa.