Yoga Asanas for Hypertension
Yoga has of late gained popularity across the globe as a holistic approach aimed at attaining physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing rather than just an ancient Indian practice associated with Hindu philosophy.
The different body movements, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and meditation help attain a balance between the body and mind. Recent studies in the West has shown that practicing yoga regularly helps reduce high blood pressure, improve symptoms of heart failure, enhance cardiac rehabilitation, and lower cardiovascular risk factors.
This year as the World Health Day is all about creating awareness on hypertension, we bring to you some easy and effective yoga asanas which if made a part of your daily routine will not only lower blood pressure but will also help you keep it stable other than reducing the risk of other life threatening diseases associated with the chronic condition.
Since hypertension leads to an elevated blood pressure in the arteries, practicing certain yoga posture can aggravate the condition. Asanas like Sirsasana (headstand) or Viparita Karani that put the body in an inverted position should be avoided by people with cardiovascular disease as it increases blood pressure in the head. So it is advised that all the postures be practiced under the strict guidance of a yoga therapist.
ANULOM VILOM PRANAYAM
Anulom vilom pranayam also called the alternate nostril breathing technique is mainly exercised for relaxation and strengthening of mind. Sparing 10 to 15 minutes for the breathing exercise helps release stress and anxiety. Practicing Anulom-Vilom cleanses blood vessels and vein and makes the three main nadis — the Idaa, Pingla and Sushumna more supple. It increases mental and physical strength thus reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
1. Sit in a meditative position
2. Close the right nostril with the right thumb
3. Breath in from the left nostril and hold the breath for a couple of seconds
4. Open right nostril and close left nostril with middle and ring finger
5. Breath out from right nostril
6. Breathe in from right nostril, close the right nostril
7. Open left nostril and breathe out.
8. Repeat again
1. Relieves stress, improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure
2. Cures diseases of the muscular system
3. Beneficial in arthritis, flatulence and varicose veins, acidity and sinusitis
4. Streamlines metabolism
Shavasana or Corpse pose gives you a chance to connect with your breath thus rejuvenating body, mind and spirit. Usually, practiced at the end of a yoga session, Shavasana, allows the body a chance to regroup and reset itself.
1. Lie flat on the back. Use a pillow only if absolutely required
2. Place the legs comfortable apart with the toes facing to the sides
3. Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades and leave the palms open, facing upward
4. Keep breathing gently and deeply, taking your attention to different body parts one by one, slowly relax your entire system
5. After about 10-20 minutes release the position by rolling over to the right side in a fetal position. After a short time and a slow inhalation in the position, gently sit up and relax.
1. Decreases heart rate and lowers blood pressure
2. Calms the brain and helps relieve stress, mild depression, headache, fatigue and insomnia
3. Relaxes the body and reduces muscle tension
4. Increases energy levels, improves concentration and memory
Paschimottanasana, seated forward bend or intense dorsal stretch helps calm the brain thus helping relive stress and anxiety. This posture is however not advised for those with back injury.
1. Sit on the floor with the legs stretched in front. Keep the spine erect.
2. Breathe in, raise the arms above the head and stretch upwards
3. Breathe out and bend forward towards your toes from the hip joint, not from the waist
4. Take hold of the toe only if your hands reach, otherwise place your hand wherever they reach without putting in too much force
5. Breathe in, lift the head slightly and lengthen your spine. Breathing out, gently move the navel towards the knees. Repeat this movement two or three times.
1. Calms the mind and body thus helping relieve stress, mild depression, anxiety and fatigue
2. Lowers high blood pressure, improves digestion and reduces obesity
3. Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort
4. Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus
SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or the bridge pose awakens the senses, has a calming effect on the brain and energizes the body making one feel completely rejuvenated and revitalized.
1. To begin, lie supine on the floor
2. Bend your knees and keep your feet hip distance apart on the floor, 10-12 inches from your pelvis
3. Rest your hands near your hips with the palms up
4. Now slowly, raise the tailbone and continue lifting the spine, trying to move one vertebra at a time until your entire back is arched upward. Breathe deeply into your chest. Stay in the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5. Release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor.
1. Stretches the chest, neck and spine and relieves a tired back instantaneously
2. Calms the brain thus alleviating anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache and insomnia
3. Helpful in asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and sinusitis
4. Opens up the lungs and reduces thyroid problems
5. Helps improve digestion and relieve menstrual discomfort
By Liji Varghese