Control your Blood Pressure better with Yoga

Blood pressure (BP) is the term for an essential function of the body, in which, as the heart alternately pumps and relaxes, the blood in the arteries exerts a force on the artery-walls.

It is measured by the combination of two numbers: your systolic score written above your diastolic score. The systolic number measures your blood pressure while the heart pumps blood, and the diastolic number (which is regarded as more important), represents the blood pressure between beats.

If the blood vessels are not relaxing normally, and if there are blockages in the arterioles, it can lead to increase in blood pressure. This is termed as high blood pressure.

The Risks Involved

Though BP normally varies through the day, being higher at work and lowest when a person is sleeping, older persons, and those with undetected or neglected stress-levels, are at greater risk for high BP. This can also be a risk factor for many chronic diseases like:

  • Heart failure and  stroke (especially at the time of waking), heart attack angina pectoris
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Enlarged heart muscles
  • Kidney damage and endocrine gland malfunction
  • High BP leads to hypertension
  • Weakens cardio-vascular system
  • Increases workload of heart and arteries.

Hypertension – The Silent Killer

The most commonly-occurring type of high BP is hypertension, known as the “silent killer” because it gives no overt symptoms/indications. It has numerous causes, depending on the individual’s constitution, health condition and lifestyle. Stress, lowered immunity, poor nutrition/digestion, hardening of arteries and obesity are some of the other factors that contribute to high BP.

Symptoms of High BP

High BP is normally, not easy to detect, nor is its high-end variation, hypertension. Watch out for the following symptoms and consult your healthcare professional at the earliest:

  • Dizziness/light-headedness, tiredness
  • Heart pain, breathing problems, palpitation
  • Sound in the ears
  • Headaches, ache in neck on waking, generally subsides quickly
  • Tension
  • Frequent urination
  • Dull vision.

Why Yoga for High BP?

Yogasanas are recognized to be beneficial for those with this problem:

  • Creates an alpha brain wave state that actually lowers blood pressure.
  • Brings balance to the autonomous nervous system, stabilizes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Enhances circulation to all parts of the body and oxygenates the blood, enhancing alertness and cognitive skills and reducing stress and tension.
  • Promotes therapeutic “side–benefits” like increased strength, flexibility, calmness of mind.
  • Addresses the problems of shallow breathing and increased heart rate.
  • Being scientific, asanas channel the life-force or prana into all parts of the body, assisting the body to heal itself.
  • Can promote weight-loss.

Some Recommended Yogasanas

Sitting and supine positions that place the spine in a horizontal position, and exert less strain on the heart can be therapeutic. Depending on your condition, the following asanas can be considered:

Cautions to be Exercised

  • Practice yogasanas only after consulting your healthcare professional, and a qualified yoga therapist, as the asanas that invert the body i.e. – where the head is below the body – are to be avoided. Discuss your medication and diet-regime with them. And once you have started yoga practice, careful monitoring of medication-levels by your doctor is crucial.
  • Gently close your eyes during yoga, rest a few breaths after each pose, and do not over-exert.
  • Follow the recommended inhalation/exhalation pattern for each asana.
  • A few gentle warm-up exercises before the asanas, and resting in Shavaasana (Corpse Pose) after the yoga routine, is essential.

Eat Right, Exercise Right

Supplement your yoga practice with these simple, multi-therapeutic lifestyle changes:

  • Shake your head – at the salt-shaker!  Learn to use lemon, low-fat curds, unusual spices and herbs as substitute taste-givers and enhancers. And remove those pickles from the dining table! Opt for healthier low-salt chutneys and salads.
  • Vegetables and fruits rich in potassium and magnesium like lady fingers, black beans, pumpkin seeds and spinach can help in lowering BP.
  • Eat natural: avoid canned, packaged, frozen and restaurant foods.
  • No smoking, limit alcohol intake.
  • Recommended: herbal teas and fruit drinks like pomegranate juice, green tea.
  • Consult your doctor for recommended levels of fat/oil intake.  Monitor weight-gain.
  • Discuss with your doctor the type and level of daily exercise that is best for you. Incorporate meditation, pranayama. Learn the art of letting go.

Ayurveda – The Healthy Lifestyle Alternative

Ayurveda is an ancient science focused on living a healthy life by adopting a healthy lifestyle. It is a natural alternative to allopathic medicines and is also free from any side-effects. Adopting ayurveda along with yoga can help keep a check on your blood pressure levels and with due time, normalize it for good.

 

——————-

 

Treating Hypotension with Yoga

Low blood pressure or Hypotension is a physical condition where the blood pressure levels fall below 90/60 mm Hg. Doctors believe that low blood pressure is not really harmful until it starts causing dizziness, fainting and even shock. Some other symptoms of hypotension include headache, chest pain, seizures, prolonged diarrhea or vomiting.

Low blood pressure can be caused due to various reasons such as low blood volume, anemia, nutritional deficiency, heart problems, and hormonal changes amongst others. In advanced cases, it may cause lack of oxygen supply and nutrients to the brain and other vital organs.

Although not as dangerous as high blood pressure (hypertension), practicing certain precautions and making some lifestyle alterations can help you stay out of danger. Proper care and medication can bring your blood pressure level back to normal. A regular practice of physical exercise like yoga can improve blood flow in the body and thus alleviate low blood pressure. Additionally, a balanced ayurvedic diet can ease and speed up the process of normalizing the blood pressure level. You can start with these simple and effective yoga poses on your journey to a healthier life:

Kapal Bhati pranayama

This breathing technique improves blood circulation, and calms and uplifts the mind.

Uttanasana

This pose improves the flow of blood to the brain and thus alleviates dizziness and fatigue.

 

Adho Mukha Svanasana

This pose calms the brain and relieves the body of fatigue.

Pavanmuktasana

This pose enhances blood circulation and eases tension in the lower back.

 

Shishuasana

This pose relieves the body of stress and fatigue and calms the brain.

Sarvangasana

This pose improves the flow of blood to the brain and thus alleviates dizziness and fatigue.

 

 

Precautions

Sudden movements may cause dizziness or fainting and should be avoided. Make sure to breathe properly while doing yoga. Drink plenty of water and stay away from alcohol. Experts also suggest increasing the intake of salt and caffeine as they raise the blood pressure. However, it is strongly advised to consult with your doctor before making any dietary changes.

Yoga is an ancient science that promotes healthy living through postures, pranayamas and meditation. It also calms the mind and makes the body supple, filling one with renewed enthusiasm towards personal and professional life. So, roll out that yoga mat and get ready to say goodbye to hypotension.

 

————————————