According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics report, about one in every three adults in America are in the prehypertension stage; that is, at a very close risk of getting hypertension. This is because of different factors but more significantly unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. However, two recent studies have demonstrated that practicing hatha yoga has a positive effect on people either already diagnosed with hypertension or people in the prehypertension stage. In addition, the heart-healthy behaviors promoted in a yogic lifestyle can also help lower your blood pressure.
Two yoga studies offer proof
To prove the fact that hot yoga plays a significant role in balancing a human’s blood pressure, two primary studies have been undertaken. In the first yoga research study, ten people of both genders were selected between 20 and 65 years of age. All participants had an elevated systolic of between 120 to 129, which is close to stage 1 hypertension of 130 to 139 systolic pressure and 80 to 89 diastolic.
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Half of the participants were signed into hot yoga sessions, while the rest did not have any form of therapy. Note that this was the only form of treatment that the participants had gone through within six months before the research kicked off. After 12 weeks, those who were taking hot yoga sessions three times a week had reduced their systolic pressure from the 126 average to 121 and the diastolic pressure from an 82 average to 79.
In the second study, analysts went through data from 49 trials, with 3,517 participants who had the same conditions as the first study. The participants were either taken through yoga or signed in to a control group with no physical exercises. Within the period of the study, the first group, who were taken through yoga, recorded a reduction of their systolic pressure by about 5 mmHg and their diastolic pressure by 3.9 mmHg more than those in the control groups.
Study’s findings on blood pressure
According to the two studies, it is clear that yoga, in particular, hot yoga does more to your health than reducing your stress levels. As much as a few more research have to be done to substantiate these findings, it is still clear that the more active you are, the lower the chances you have for getting high blood pressure.
According to Yin Wu, the lead researcher of the second study, yoga is either as effective or even more beneficial than aerobics. When more focus was put on breathing exercises and relaxing, the average systolic pressure drop increased to 6 mmHg.
Cautions when doing yoga with high blood pressure
As much as yoga helps to control high blood pressure and prevent other heart diseases, if a person already has hypertension, some caution needs to be taken. Working with a yoga therapist will help a patient know what to do and what to avoid. Some of the inverted poses to avoid include headstand pose, handstand pose, and shoulder-stand pose.
Yoga poses to lower high blood pressure
Many yoga poses can be helpful for controlling and lowering high blood pressure. Gentle and calming yoga asanas combined with slow deep breathing switch on the parasympathetic (rest and repair) nervous system and turn off the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system. The best postures for high blood pressure are seated yoga poses like Bound Angle Pose (Baddhakonasana), Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana), Hero Pose (Virasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujanasana), and Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavista Konasana).
Yoga lifestyle can also lower high blood pressure
Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are also known to increase your risk for high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following behaviors can increase your blood pressure:
• Smoking tobacco.
• Eating foods high in sodium and low in potassium.
• Not getting enough physical activity.
• Being obese.
• Drinking too much alcohol.
While a yogic lifestyle is usually undertaken to promote inner peace and equanimity, it can also be an effective way to reduce high blood pressure. A yogic lifestyle does not promote any of the above unhealthy behaviors, and in addition, promotes behaviors that are calming to the mind and heart.
Many yoga masters have stated that hatha yoga can lower blood pressure. With these two studies, you can be more assured that yoga can help you control your blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure be sure to seek a doctor or other qualified health care professional for their opinion before you start to make sure you do not require any additional precautions or modifications.