Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure (BP), is a widespread health problem today. Not only does this pose health risks by increasing the risk of diseases such as heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, but it can also have a negative impact on overall well-being. Yoga is often recommended for lowering high blood pressure, and a BMC Public Health study indicated that practicing yoga significantly improves the chances of maintaining normal blood pressure. However, it is important to note that practicing yoga with hypertension carries certain risks and should be approached with caution.
Is it safe to do yoga with high blood pressure?
Yoga is known for its ability to reduce stress, improve flexibility and improve overall well-being. However, for people with high blood pressure, certain yoga poses can be counterproductive or even potentially harmful. Himalayan yoga expert Siddhaa Akshar, founder of Akshar Yoga Research and Development Center, says: “Certain yoga poses, such as inversions, can temporarily raise blood pressure because they increase blood flow to the head, putting strains the neck and shoulders. Additionally, breath control in yoga can cause sudden drops in blood pressure, leading to dizziness. So, people suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure should practice yoga under the guidance or after consulting their doctor.
9 Yoga Poses to Avoid If You Have Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
1. Headstand (Sirsasana)
This inversion pose increases blood flow to the head and can elevate blood pressure. People with hypertension should avoid placing their head below their heart for a prolonged period of time.
2. Handstand (Adho mukha vrksasana)
Similar to the headstand, the headstand is an inversion that can cause an increase in blood pressure. It places significant strain on the cardiovascular system and may not be suitable for people with hypertension.
3. Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)
While this pose has various health benefits, it can also increase blood pressure due to the inversion. If you attempt it, it should be done under the guidance of an experienced instructor and with modifications.
4. Plow Pose (Halasana)
Plow pose is another inversion that can affect blood pressure. It compresses the neck and throat area, potentially leading to increased pressure. People suffering from high blood pressure should approach this pose with caution.
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5. Chakrasana or wheel pose (Urdhva dhanurasana)
The wheel pose is a deep backbend that can be quite intense. Therefore, it can cause an increase in blood pressure. People with hypertension should approach this pose gradually and with appropriate modifications.
6. Intense forward bends (Paschimottanasana)
While forward bends are generally considered beneficial for relaxation, intense variations can put a strain on the cardiovascular system. People suffering from high blood pressure are advised to perform these poses with caution and avoid overexertion.
7. Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita trikonasana)
This pose involves a wide stance and a deep stretch. For people with hypertension, it is essential to avoid excessive strain and maintain a comfortable range of motion.
8. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
This balancing pose requires stability and concentration. People with high blood pressure should be careful to avoid overexertion and maintain regular breathing throughout the pose.
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9. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel pose can be intense and raise blood pressure. Modifications, such as using props or reducing the depth of the backbend, can make this pose more accessible to people with high blood pressure.
Yoga Poses for High Blood Pressure
Include these yoga poses in your daily routine to reduce high blood pressure and promote overall heart health.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana): Being one of the easiest yoga poses, it promotes relaxation and stress reduction.
- Corpse Pose (Savasana): This yoga pose facilitates deep rest, calm, and relaxation.
- Pose of legs against the wall (Viparita Karani): In addition to promoting blood circulation in your body, it also promotes relaxation, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Standing Bend Pose (Uttanasana): This helps calm the nervous system and improve your breathing.
- Pranayama techniques: Pranayama techniques such as Anulom Vilom (alternate-nostril breathing) and Ujjayi breathing can balance energy levels, promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine, including yoga, if you are a patient with high blood pressure.