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Yoga - a natural way to lower your blood pressure

shutterstock_24695020.jpgYoga is quickly becoming the go-to method for resolving a number of contemporary health problems. While yoga reduces situational blood pressure, it may also reduce ongoing hypertension or high blood pressure, which occurs when pressure inside blood vessels is higher than normal expected values for age and gender.

When adopted as a way of life, yoga has a lot to offer those suffering from this silent killer. People who commit to a regular practice of yogic breathing exercises, asanas and meditation, will soon experience improved bodily strength and flexibility, mental and physical relaxation and greatly reduced stress reactions such as muscular tension, rapid heart rate, constricted breathing and anxiety.

There are a few probable mechanisms by which yoga works to keep hypertension at bay:

  • Chronic stress causes sustained muscular contraction, which reduces the width of blood dreamstime_xs_22221673.jpgvessels inside the muscles. Just like compressing a water pipe increases the force with which water flows through it, a reduction in blood vessel width increases blood pressure within. The sustained stretching and relaxation of muscles through yogic exercises reverses this effect.

  • Conditions of extreme excitement or tension activate the body's "fight or flight" response, which in turn increases blood pressure. This response is evolutionarily useful for genuine emergency situations, but unfortunately the urgency of modern-day living tends to over-trigger this response. Yoga helps to manage it by controlling adrenaline levels, thus reducing blood pressure.

  • Regular yoga practice may also reduce the stress hormones aldosterone and vasopressin, both of which contract blood vessels and thus increase blood pressure.

Emerging research continues to show the many positive benefits of yoga. Although other sporting and wellness activities also help reduce stress, few adopt an holistic approach that can be done safely every day like yoga. Try it and see for yourself!

Has yoga helped to reduce your high blood pressure and improve your overall health? Tell us your story here...