You probably know someone in your life who has high blood pressure and pops pills to keep it under control. Hypertension is a great health concern for health professionals especially since it affects one in three people. It also has adverse health effects including increased risk of kidney diseases, heart failure and stroke. The signs of high blood pressure are recognizable and include headaches, bursts of anger, dizziness, ringing in the ears, nervous tension, nosebleeds and fatigue.

Blood pressure fluctuates during the day decreasing when your body is at rest and increasing when you you’re stressed. Blood pressure figures that are less than 120/80 are normal for adults but anything that goes beyond 140/90 qualifies as high blood pressure.

If performed mindfully yoga can help lower blood pressure in adults and address the underlying causes especially if it’s due to stress. It works by pacifying the sympathetic nervous system and teaching the body to relax. The breathing exercises are particularly helpful as they encourage the breath to arise smoothly while the body is relaxed.

While general yoga practice can help reduce blood pressure, the truth remains that some poses work better than others and making simple modifications allows you to make the most of these poses. For instance, cooling poses like forward bends with the head supported brings a calming effect not only to the head, but also the diaphragm, face and neck. Any standing poses that are done with the arms extended over the head can be done with your hands on your hips for better effect.

When it comes to the triangle pose, try doing it looking towards the floor rather than looking towards the ceiling. This keeps your blood pressure from rising. You may want to consider staying clear of poses that compress the front of the diaphragm as they can increase blood pressure. Such poses include the peacock pose and bow pose. Unsupported inversions like handstand pose and headstand pose should also be avoided by anyone with untreated blood pressure. This also includes any other pose where one feels pressure on the temples or throat and which makes respiration difficult heavy. Modified plow pose where you learn to bear your weight on the upper body is a great way to experience the benefits of inversions without increasing the risk of harmful effects.

There are dozens of ways one can modify yoga poses to control their high blood pressure. And what better way to learn how to do them than enrolling in an IGO yoga class? Simply click on the link below to a redeem a free class. (offer only available for new clients only, Terms & Conditions apply).

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