Did you know that not only has research found that yoga can reduce stress and increase muscle strength, but also lower your blood pressure?
A study, which divided subjects into two groups, had each group make lifestyle changes — such as quitting smoking, doing aerobic exercise and eating a healthy diet. But only one of the groups also practiced yoga, controlled breathing and meditation.
The results? The group that did yoga saw a decrease in blood pressure while the other group did not.
Practicing Yoga to Lower Blood Pressure: How Does It Work?
Yoga addresses two factors that lower blood pressure — stress and exercise. Yoga has been proven to slow down heart rate and relax the body, which helps to relieve stress. Yoga’s focus on deep breathing also helps lower your blood pressure.
Regularly doing yoga will also make your heart stronger. Over time, your heart will require less effort to keep your blood pumping, which lowers your blood pressure.
Learn to Do Yoga the Right Way
Proper yoga, with its challenging moves and poses, is usually best learned with a teacher or instructor. This is because subtle deviations can reduce its effectiveness, and you want to make sure you’re getting all the moves right.
Controlled breathing is just as important as the poses and moves when practicing yoga. Pay attention to your breathing with each move, inhaling or exhaling and never holding your breath.
Always inhale through your nose and keep the airflow going throughout the exercise. When done properly, controlled breathing can help reduce stress. And that’s your goal — to remove as much tension and anxiety as possible.
However you start your yoga journey, know that you’re on your way to lower blood pressure and a more peaceful mindset!
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.