High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is often referred to as a silent killer, because your blood pressure can become elevated with virtually no symptoms. However, high blood pressure poses a number of risks to your health, including damage to arteries, heart and kidneys.
Some people may be able to detect a change in blood pressure due to headache, vision changes, ringing in the ears or because there are changes in their regular kidney function.
Ideally, your blood pressure should be around 115/75, and not 120/80 as previously thought. New research indicates that the closer your blood pressure is to 115/75, the more you reduce your chance of heart disease and stroke.
Clinically, if you reach a resting blood pressure reading of 140/90, you are considered to have hypertension. However, if you intervene at the first sign of even mildly rising blood pressure, you may be able to keep yours from climbing to higher levels.
One way to help to control pre-hypertension and hypertension is yoga. Yoga is an ancient discipline which helps to keep the body flexible and healthy. However, it also promotes relaxation – which can be key to better blood pressure numbers.
Yoga poses suggested for hypertension include:
- Easy Pose (Sukhasana) – a simple pose that promotes restful awareness.
- Shoulder Stretches – a great pose that will help to relieve tension in the neck, shoulders and upper back. Since people who have issue with blood pressure often have tension in the body, stretching is ideal.
- Cat Pose (Bidalasana) – This pose involves coordination of both your movement and your breath. More deep breathing can aid relaxation and by extension, blood pressure.
- Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) – This pose can help spine, liver, kidneys and adrenal glands. Another relaxing pose, this can help to calm the body.
- Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana) – While this pose works most directly on the digestive system, it helps to work the spine gently, again promoting relaxation.
- Anuloma Viloma – This is a special breathing technique called the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. It can be done as a simple meditation, and meditation is known to help with relaxation.