Yoga is estimated to be thousands (8,000 to 10,000) of years old. It is the art of knowing oneself and knowing the eternal truth. Yoga is a philosophy and a way of life where art and science meet. Yoga can be beneficial for people trying to control high blood pressure. The practice of yoga brings a perfect balance in body and mind. A leading cause of high blood pressure is hypertension or stress, and you can protect your health and the functioning of various organs in the body, especially the central nervous system by doing yoga regularly.
Tips to Control High BP
- Yoga asanas and pranayama should be practised regularly as it is a natural remedy to remove tension, calm the nerves, relax the heart, and refresh the brain. The arteries and capillaries are dilated, made elastic, and their functions improved. Forward bends are beneficial in calming the frontal lobe of the brain and must be practised with a crepe bandage. People with hypertension should eat foods rich in folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and magnesium to keep your heart healthy.
- Fruits are a good source of energy and consuming fruits that are rich in potassium and vitamin C will be beneficial. Have a healthy and balanced diet. Keep your body hydrated and drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water a day. Make sure you eat only home-cooked meals and avoid restaurant food.
- Have a low sodium diet. Eating too much salt can irritate the endothelial cells and increase water retention, which will spike up your blood levels. Reduce weight if you are overweight. Try to incorporate green leafy vegetables, unsalted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almonds, apricots, raisins, figs, walnuts, milk, yoghurt, bananas, apples, avocados, peaches, plums, melons, oranges etc.
- Avoid having chocolates, caffeine, alcohol, aerated drinks, cigarettes. Before doing yoga asanas, go for a walk for half an hour. Practice forward bending asanas every day to calm your mind and body and to feel fresh. Having light and early dinner and getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep is also important.
Yoga Asanas to Control Hypertension
- Adho Mukha Virasana– Downward Facing Hero posture
- Adho Mukha Svanasana– Downward Facing Dog posture
- Prasarita Padottasana– Intense Leg Stretch posture
- Supta Padangustasana– Reclining Big Toe posture
- Supta Baddha Konasana– Reclining Bound Angle posture
- Supta Virasana– Reclining Hero posture
- Setu Bandhasana– Bridge posture
- Viparita Karni– Inverted Action posture
- Adho Mukha Upavistha Konasana– Seated Wide Angle posture
- Janu Sirsasana– Head to Knee posture
- Savasana- Supine Relaxation
Pranayama is the conscious expansion of inhalation and exhalation in a specific manner. It is a scientific process of internal purification that draws the mind inwards and connects to deeper levels of consciousness. Pranayama refreshes and energises the brain, removes stress, negativity, and makes all the systems function well. There are different kinds of Pranayama, and they must be learnt from an experienced yoga teacher.
1. Ujjayi Pranayama
This pranayama is also known as breath of victory. It involves deep breathing that controls every movement of the muscles as they expand and contract. It is a process that regulates the movements of the chest and abdomen, refreshes the brain, and enhances lung capacity. It relieves high and low BP, depression, thyroid problems, migraine, asthma, sleep apnea, insomnia, anxiety, acidity, snoring, bronchitis. The victorious breath pranayama can be practised for 10-15 minutes.
2. Kapalabhati Pranayama
Kapalabhati pranayama is cleansing pranayama that flushes out all the impurities present in the body through the nostrils. It also brings a fresh glow to the face, lightens the head. It relieves low and high BP, cholesterol, triglycerides, heart problems, kidney problems, menstrual and menopause problems, diabetes, and helps in weight loss. It builds muscle and bone mass. Practice this for 15-20 minutes daily.
3. Brahmari Pranayama
Brahmari Pranayama is also known as humming bee breath. The sound created resembles the sound of a bee. This breathing exercise instantly calms your mind and soothes the nervous system. This pranayama can be practised three to four times a day. This breathing exercise relieves high BP, depression, anger, anxiety, fear, insomnia, and mental stress. This practice is also great for building confidence, inner strength, and balance hormones. Practice this for 15 minutes.
4. Anulom Vilom Pranayama or Nadi Shodana Pranayama
Also known as alternate nostril breathing is the one the best breathing practices which immediately calms your mind. It relieves high BP, anxiety, depression, mental stress, menstrual cycles, purifies the nervous system, balances the right and left hemisphere of the brain. Anulom Vilom pranayama can be practised for 10-15 minutes. It is better to meditate for about 5-10 minutes post practising Nadi Shodana pranayama. Also, an important fact to keep in mind is that your exhalations must be much longer than your inhalations. To get the best results, practice this pranayama every single day.
Yoga During Pregnancy to Control High BP
Practising yoga before, during, and after pregnancy can be extremely beneficial in improving the blood circulation of the pelvis and the reproductive organs. It will not just strengthen the spine and the uterus but also enhance fertility. In the early stages of pregnancy, some women experience morning sickness and weakness. Therefore, it is important to practice yoga before you conceive so that you can benefit during pregnancy. Practising yoga regularly can improve digestion, help in healthy blood circulation. Asanas and pranayama reduce tiredness and help to remove toxins from the body. Hormonal imbalances during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or other complications and to have a safe pregnancy it is essential to practice yoga regularly. There are different asanas which can be beneficial for all pregnant ladies. During pregnancy, a lot of women see fluctuations in their blood pressure levels. Hence, I will be listing down some asanas that can be performed to control high BP during pregnancy.
Virasana is also called Vajrasana or the hero pose. This posture resembles a warrior in a sitting position. Some women, during their pregnancy, complain of severe pain and swelling in the legs. This pose will give you relief from the pain and swelling and will also strengthen your spine, hips, pelvis, knees, and legs. This pose can be performed during all three trimesters of your pregnancy. This posture also has a lot of other benefits that include controlling low and high bp, diabetics, acidity, indigestion, pain in lower back, hips, ankles, heels, leg pain, gout etc.
2. Adho Mukha Virasana
This pose is also known as downward-facing hero pose. This is a very comfortable posture and can be performed right from the first day of your pregnancy until the day your baby is born. This pose eases breathing, rests the heart, helps treat high blood pressure and diabetics. It allows your breathing to flow freely to your groin, lower back and spine, sides of the torso, and abdomen, and it assists during labour. This pose can also be performed for all three trimesters.
3. Ardha Uttanasana
This pose is also called as half intense forward stretch pose. This posture needs to be practised with a lot of care not to compress your abdomen during pregnancy. It helps in strengthening the abdominal organs, calming the mind, alleviating depression, relieves women from back and stomach pain. Restores normal blood pressure, creates space for the foetus to grow and extend its limbs, lengthens and straightens the back of the cervix and the vagina. This pose also can be practised for all three trimesters.
4. Salamba Purvottanasana
Also known as supported eastern intense stretch pose, it is an amazing posture which lifts the spine and the inner organs, lifts and widens the diaphragm, and gives support to the heart as well. Provides space in the chest and allows the breath to be deep and smooth. Relieves nervous tension and helps the mind and body to calm down. This is a pose that should be avoided in the first trimester. It can be done in the second and third trimester. This posture should be avoided in case you are experiencing bleeding and white discharge.
5. Adho Mukha Shvanasana
This pose is also called downward-facing dog pose. It should be practised with ropes and support for the head. During pregnancy standing asanas cause a lot of fatigue. Thus this asana removes fatigue. This pose helps in lowering blood pressure, relieves lower back pain, headaches, fatigue, and palpitations. Lessens swellings in the legs and ankles. It increases blood supply to the brain, restores normal blood pressure and heartbeat, extends the spine, and helps to strengthen the spinal muscles, eliminates shortness of breath. This posture can be performed in all three trimesters, as long as your comfortable.
6. Ardha Chandrasana
This pose is also called as the half-moon pose. This asana is great during pregnancy. It relieves pregnant women from anxiety, nervous tension, fatigue. Reduces nausea and vomiting, it strengthens the spine and the pelvic muscles, it regulates blood pressure, provides space in the uterus and maintains proper kidney functions, and also checks bleeding during pregnancy. Pregnant ladies detected with toxaemia should avoid practising this posture. Otherwise, it can be practised in all three trimesters.
This posture is also known as intense chest stretch pose. This asana helps in improving hip, spine, and shoulder flexibility, strengthens the abdominal muscles, legs and spine, it refreshes the brain, removes body stiffness, makes delivery easy, brings down high blood pressure. This asana can be practised throughout pregnancy.
8. Prasarita Padottanasana
Also known as intense leg stretch posture. During pregnancy, there is a lot of discomfort and pain in the body. This asana is of great use during menstruation and pregnancy. It relieves low and high blood pressure, anxiety, and morning sickness during pregnancy. It increases blood circulation, strengthens the hips, legs, knees, and feet, stretches and widens the pelvic region, and improves digestion. When you feel exhausted or have symptoms of toxaemia, this pose should be strictly avoided. It can be practised throughout pregnancy. In the first trimester, it should be practised with a concave back.
9. Ardha Halasana
This asana is also called the half plough posture. This asana helps to strengthen and firm the spine, especially during the first trimester. Some women face the problem of vaginal bleeding in the initial stages of pregnancy, and this pose is extremely beneficial to prevent bleeding. Helps treat kidney problems, both as a regular precaution and during pregnancy and also helps in urinary problems. Practising this pose will help you energise your brain, neck, lungs, heart and abdomen. It can be practised during all three trimesters.
10. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This pose is also called the bridge pose. This is one pose that a pregnant woman shouldn’t skip practising during her pregnancy as it helps to build courage. This posture helps in improving heart and kidney functions, removes heaviness, relieves headache, diabetes, back pain, hip pain, thyroid, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Women suffering from high BP during pregnancy must perform this asana both in the mornings and evenings as well. This pose reduces vaginal discharge and promotes mental stability. This asana can be performed during the first and second trimester. If you are comfortable practising this asana in your third trimester, then you can continue otherwise, if you feel a pull in the pelvic region you can avoid this pose.
11. Upavistha Konasana
This posture is also referred to as the seated wide-angle posture. This asana is great for strengthening the muscles of the pelvic region and lower back; it is also great for toning the kidneys. It helps in improving the blood circulation in the abdomen and the pelvis and enhances flexibility and strength in the hips. This asana is beneficial to cure urinary problems during pregnancy. Also reduces vaginal discharge. This posture can be practised throughout pregnancy.
12. Supta Baddha Konasana
This asana is also known as the reclining bound angle pose. This posture is a relaxing and healing variation of Baddha Konasana. This asana is a boon for pregnant ladies as it tones the urinary system, relieves pain, burning sensation, and abdominal-pelvic discomfort. It also ensures an easy delivery. This pose can be practised throughout pregnancy.
13. Supta Virasana
This pose is also known as the reclining hero pose. This asana helps in correcting high blood pressure. It relieves from flatulence and constipation, uterine fatigue. Promotes good sleep and easy delivery and rejuvenates organs. Helps in relaxing the mind and body. This posture can also be practised in all three trimesters.
This posture is also known as the corpse pose. This pose is done at the end of yoga practice. It is one of the poses which not just helps to calm the mind and body but also leads you to a spiritual path. This asana is great in removing all tensions. It is an excellent pose which can be practised throughout the pregnancy.
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