High blood pressure, a common health disorder, affects many people (from teenagers to the elderly) on a daily basis. It doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, but it can put you at risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. It should not be ignored. Pranayama is one of the beneficial yogic practices for people with high blood pressure. In addition to lowering blood pressure, pranayama also has a positive effect on brain functioning, increased oxygen uptake, mindfulness, improves sleep quality, and lower depression, anxiety, and stress.
The good news is that studies and reviews have shown that there is a lot you can do to control your blood pressure, including starting to practice pranayama, a part of yoga. It deals with the breath and its regulation which plays an important role in calming the mind, reducing anxiety and stress, improving mood, and increasing lung capacity by improving respiratory function. In this way, Pranayama can be a very effective and non-invasive way of reducing high blood pressure.
It is suggested that people with high blood pressure should practice only certain pranayamas (breathing exercises) while acknowledging that there are other pranayamas that are not suitable for them.
In this article, we will discuss the pranayama that balances and stabilize the autonomic nervous system resulting in the regulation of blood pressure.
Pranayama for high blood pressure
There are various types of pranayama for high blood pressure that can both energies and cool your body.
1. Bhramari Pranayama
Bhramari Pranayama, also known as Humming Bee Breath, is a yoga breathing exercise known to have a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and body. It involves deep breathing combined with the production of a hum created by partially closing the throat.
While there is limited scientific evidence on the specific effects of Bhramari Pranayama on high blood pressure, it is believed to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system by reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Stress and anxiety are common contributors to high blood pressure, so by practicing Bhramari Pranayama, one can help lower their blood pressure by reducing stress.
The steps to practice Bhramari Pranayama are as follows:
- Sit comfortably with your back straight and close your eyes.
- Take a deep breath through your nose, filling your lungs completely.
- As you exhale, gently press your index fingers into your ears to partially close them. The thumb should rest on the cartilage outside the ear canal.
- Inhale deeply through your nose again, and as you exhale, make a humming sound in your throat, like the sound of a bee. Keep the sound of humming going as long as possible.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose and as you exhale, release your fingers from your ears.
- Repeat the process for a few more rounds, focusing on the sound of the hum and the sensations in your body.
It is important to note that although Bhramari Pranayama may be helpful for some individuals with high blood pressure, it should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment or advice. If you have high blood pressure or any other medical condition, please consult your healthcare provider before practicing this or any other breathing exercise.
2. Chandra Bhedana Pranayama
Chandra Bhedan Pranayama, also known as moon-piercing breath, is a yogic breathing technique that involves inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right nostril. This pranayama is believed to cool the body, which has a calming effect on the mind and body. It can help reduce stress, which results in the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system that lowers heart rate, and in turn, lowers overall blood pressure.
Here are the steps to practice Chandra Bhedana Pranayama:
- Sit comfortably with your back straight and your eyes closed.
- Use your right thumb to close your right nostril and inhale deeply through your left nostril.
- After inhaling, use your ring finger or little finger to close your left nostril, and exhale slowly and completely through your right nostril.
- After exhaling, inhale again through your right nostril while keeping your left nostril closed.
- After inhaling, close your right nostril with your right thumb and exhale slowly and completely through your left nostril.
- This completes one round. Continue for several rounds, alternating the nostrils with each inhale and exhale.
It is important to practice Chandra Bhedana Pranayama in a relaxed and comfortable manner, without straining. If you experience any discomfort or pain, stop immediately and consult a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional.
3. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is a yogic breathing technique that is believed to help balance the flow of energy in the body and promote relaxation. It involves inhaling and exhaling through alternate nostrils while using the fingers to close one nostril at a time.
Here are the steps to practice Nadi Shodhana:
- Sit comfortably with your back straight and close your eyes.
- Place your right hand near your nose, with the index and middle fingers on your forehead between your eyebrows and the thumb on your right nostril.
- Inhale deeply through your left nostril, and then close it with your ring finger.
- Hold your breath for a moment, then release your right nostril and exhale slowly and completely.
- Inhale through your right nostril, and then close it with your thumb.
- Hold your breath for a moment, then release your left nostril and exhale slowly and completely.
- This completes one round. Repeat for several rounds, alternating nostrils with each inhale and exhale.
It is important to practice Nadi Shodhana in a relaxed and comfortable manner without tension. If you feel any discomfort or pain, stop immediately and consult a qualified yoga instructor or health care professional.
Regular check-ups, a healthy diet focused on nutritious foods, self-monitoring, and reducing stress on the mind and body by practicing yoga and pranayama can go a long way in controlling blood pressure.
Although Nadi Shodhana may be helpful for some individuals with high blood pressure, it should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment or advice.
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