Gaspari Nutrition

Laura Prestin


Yoga and High Blood Pressure
03/24/2013

Many people suffer from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.  Did you know that taking on yoga can help control high blood pressure?  For controlling your hypertension, there are two effective yoga exercises:

1. Inverted Yoga

Inverted yoga reverses the action of gravity on the body. The most profound changes brought about by inverted yoga is in circulation.  In inverted poses, the legs and abdomen are placed higher than the heart. The legs are lengthened, thus keeping them active causing your spine to open as the entire body is actively involved in the pose.  One of the reasons for this is simply because the force of gravity is reversed and venous return becomes significantly greater.

Normally, the muscles of the calf and other skeletal muscles in the lower extremities must contract in order to pump unoxygenated blood and waste back to the heart through the veins.

In inverted poses, gravity causes the blood to flow easily back through the veins and this brings the blood pressure in the feet to a minimum. This in effect gives skeletal muscles a chance to rest.   In addition, drainage of blood and waste from the lower body back to the heart is increased and disorders such as varicose veins and swollen ankles are relieved.

2. Rhythmic Breathing

Inhaling and exhaling have the power to nourish the body and calm the mind.  And I don't mean just any old breathing will do. If you're like most people, you take shallow breaths, pull in your stomach when you inhale and never empty your lungs of carbon dioxide when you exhale.  Here's the physiological explanation: Long, slow breaths are more efficient than short, fast ones.  To take in a good breath, your lungs must first be basically empty. Thus the key to efficient breathing lies in exhaling completely. A full exhalation begins with the upper chest, proceeds to the middle chest and finishes with tightening the abdominal muscles.  Only after a good exhalation can you draw in a good lungful of the oxygen-rich air your blood needs for nourishing cells.

Prestin

BASc, RPN

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