The Connection Between Yoga and Hypertension

Taking care of your body, mind and soul are basic fundamental principles to living a healthy way of life and keeping your health in check.  Our busy lifestyles, peppered with stress and anxiety, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise, contribute to many illnesses that we develop and that could, with various lifestyle changes, be avoided. One such disease which is especially exacerbated by stress, is high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Hypertension, which is described as having a systolic blood pressure of 140 millimeters of mercury per gram (mmHg) or higher, and/or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher, usually develops from prehypertension where the blood pressure is higher than normal with a systolic reading of 120-139 mmHg or a diastolic reading of 80-89 mmHg.  1 in 3 Americans are known to have prehypertension and if lifestyle changes are not adopted, this could lead to hypertension and the increased risk of heart disease or stroke.

Recent studies presented at the 68th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India, stated that yoga may provide health benefits for patients with prehypertension and could prevent them from developing hypertension.  Yoga involves gentle physical exercise, meditation and controlled and focused breathing.  It is an excellent stress reliever and helps clear the mind.

Research was performed on 60 patients with an average age of 56 suffering from prehypertension, but were otherwise healthy.  The group was divided in half, whereby one group made lifestyle changes including practicing yoga for three months, and the other group made dietary changes, stopped smoking and did moderate aerobic exercise.  The results showed a significant decrease in blood pressure with the 24 hour diastolic blood pressure falling by approximately 4.5 mmHg in the group that engaged in yoga, whereas the second group showed no significant change in blood pressure.

Even a small 2 mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure has the potential of decreasing a stroke by 15 percent and coronary heart disease by six percent.  Yoga can be self taught or learned with an instructor. Whichever you choose, it is definitely worth engaging in to help reduce prehypertension, stress and to bring about a sense of overall well being.

Share this: