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Yoga for Hypertension

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension is a medical term for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the pressure felt on the arterial walls during the flow of the blood in the circulatory system. There are two indicators to measure the blood pressure of human beings, namely, Systolic pressure, which is the pressure when the heart is in systole (contraction of the heart, to pump blood into the circulatory system), this pressure is the highest pressure within our body. Out of the two, another indicator to measure blood pressure is Diastolic pressure, which is the pressure in the arterial walls when the heart is in diastole (when the heart rests between each pump), lowest pressure within our body. Systolic pressure is the numerator whose accepted value is 120, Diastolic pressure is the denominator whose accepted value is 80. When the systolic pressure crosses 140 or when the diastolic pressure crosses 90, it is often a case of Hypertension. One may develop hypertension due to stress (personal or professional), eating habits not good, due to very high levels of cortisols or insomnia, etc. So to keep everything in check a balanced lifestyle with the practice of yoga is recommended.

What does yoga do and how does it make a difference?

Yoga is a combination of asanas, pranayamas and other relaxation techniques which primarily aim at regulating blood pressure by bringing in harmony between the body and the breath, slowly lengthening the exhalations, bringing in a lot of relaxation within. Along with yoga one should also focus on the lifestyle choices like replacing table salt with himalyan pink salt, shifting to A2 dairy products, including green leafy vegetables which are high in phytonutrients which helps in active detoxification along with their anti-inflammatory property, helps to restore and regulate the blood pressure. The following asanas and pranayamas included in your daily practice are well known to create impact to regulate the blood pressure.

1 .Supta Baddhakonasana :

Supta Baddhakonasana is a supine posture where the soles of the foot are pressed together, bringing the heels as close to the perineum as possible. One can use a belt, taking it around the waist, wrapping it around the ankles, tightening it such that, the belt presses the insides of the thighs down, giving a great stretch in the groin area, with the support of the forearms, lie down on the floor, taking the back on the floor. One can also lie down on a bolster. Stay here for 5 minutes, focusing on the exhalations, lengthening the exhalations on every succeeding breath.

Steps:

Sit down on the floor by stretching the legs in front of you. 1. Bring both the soles of the foot together by bending the knees. 2. Keep the heels slightly away from the groin. 3. With the support of your forearms, lie down on the floor, keeping the entire back on the floor. 4. Stay in the posture, keeping the hands by the sides or on the chest interlocking the fingers, keep breathing nice and deep, concentrating more on lengthening your exhalations. Stay in posture for 5 minutes. 5. Inhale, with support of your forearms, sit down, exhaling release the legs and relax.

2.Jathara Parivartanasana :

Jathara Parivartanasana is known to relax the entire body from head to toe, lying on the ground, taking the legs up to 90 degrees with an inhalation, exhaling, drop the legs down to the right side, turning the face towards the left, work on taking both the legs up towards the palms. Stay here for a good 5 minutes before repeating the same on the other side.

Steps: 1. Lie down flat on the back to the floor. 2. Inhale, lift both the legs up to 90 degrees. 3. Wrap the foot around with a belt, placing the belt at the ball of the foot. 4. Holding the belt in the right hand, slowly release the legs to the right hand side. 5. Make sure the left lat muscles and shoulders are pressed firmly on the floor without lifting it. 6.Try to pull the leg as high up as possible without lifting the left lat muscle. 7. Stay here for 5 minutes before repeating the same on the other side. 8. Inhale, bring the legs back to centre at 90 degrees. 9. Exhale, release the legs down on the floor. 10 Repeat on the other side.

3 .Paschimottanasana :

Paschimottanasana is known to directly stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which immediately lowers the blood pressure and helps one in lowering the cortisol hormones within our body. Sitting on the floor with sitting bones pressed against the floor, Extending the leg in front, keeping a slight bend in the knees, heels pressed down on the floor, foot held straight, toes pulled towards the face, Inhale and take both hands up, Exhale, take the chest as forward and down as possible, resting the tummy on the thighs, chest on the knees and chin to the chest, catch hold of the foot from the outsides. Stay here for 30 breaths, focusing on lengthening the exhalations and pulling the stomach as inside as possible on every exhalation.

Steps:

1. Sit down on the mat, stretching the legs out. 2. Pressing the palms beside the hips, nicely pressing the palms evenly on the mat, lengthen the spine, pressing the sitting bones on the mat. 3. Bend the legs, getting the knees at the same level as the navel. Both legs joined together, foot at 90 degrees, toes pulled towards the face. 4. Keep lengthening the spine for 5 breaths. Long deep inhalations and complete full exhalations. 5.Inhale take the hands up, above the head, shoulders relaxed, lengthen the hands and interlock the fingers, palms facing the ceiling. 6. Stay here for 5 breaths, pressing the sitting bones nicely against the floor and lengthening, trying to touch the ceiling. 7.Exhaling, take the chest forward, placing the stomach on the thighs chest to the knees, take the chin to the chest. 8. Catch hold of the outsides of the foot and stay in the posture for 30 long deep breaths, taking the tummy inside on every passing exhalation. 9. Inhale, take the hands up. 10.Exhale and relax.

4. Viparita Karani :

Viparita Karani relaxes the nervous system completely, temporarily defying gravity from the foot to the base of the hips, which in turn optimises the vagus nerve which in turn restores and regulates blood pressure through its direct influence on the parasympathetic nervous system. Lie down on the floor with buttocks as close to the wall as possible, taking the legs against the wall, just relax here for about 20 minutes, focusing on the breath keeping the exhalations longer.

Steps

1. Lie down on the floor, taking the buttocks and attaching it to the wall, take the legs up against the wall. 2. Keep the hands flat, fingers pointing to either side of the wall.

3. Keep the foot parallel to the floor, by constantly applying slight pressure in pulling the toes towards the face. 4. Stay here for 20 minutes, awareness on the breath, lengthening the exhalations. 5.When coming out, consciously become aware of the entire body, preparing the mind to come out of the practice, move the toes slightly, bend the legs, slide to a side and sit up in any position of choice and relax. 5 .Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama with Jalandara Bandha :

Sit on a chair, or on the floor but the back should be absolutely straight. Hold shankha mudra in the right hand, fold the index and middle finger of the right hand, closing the right nostril with the right hand thumb, exhale completely, take the chin to the chest, press the epiglottis slightly, inhale from the left, close the left nostril with right hand ring finger and little finger, exhale from the right nostril, inhale from the right nostril and exhale from the left nostril. Keeping the chin locked to the chest, keep alternating the breath and do the same for 10 minutes. Stop the practice only after exhaling from the left.

Steps:

1. Sit down on the sitting bone. 2. Fold the left leg, taking the left heel to perineum (between the genitals and the anus), fold the right leg. 3. Hold shankha mudra, fold the right hand index and middle finger, extending and joining both the ring finger and little finger together. Slightly cup the palms. 4. Inhale deeply, closing the right nostril with right hand thumb, exhale from the left nostril, at the end of exhalation, take the chin towards the chest and gently squeeze the epiglottis. 5.Inhale from the left, hold the breath by closing both the nostril, using the ring finger and the little finger to close the left. 6.Exhale from the right nostril, keeping the left closed. 7.Inhale from the right, close both the nostril, exhale from left nostril. 8. Keep going for the next 10 minutes. 9. Complete the exhalation from the left nostril and end the practice. 10.Take the chin up and stay focused on the breath with normal breathing and end the practice.

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