The Effects of Yoga on High Blood Pressure

You’ve heard the bad news: High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other unhealthy cardiovascular events.  Traditionally treatment has been medication, diet, exercise, and no smoking or alcohol. The good news is that recent studies and reviews have shown there’s a lot you can do to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range, including starting a yoga practice.

High blood pressure is a medical condition in which the pressure of the blood pushing against the blood vessel walls is persistently high.  High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. When blood pressure is high for prolonged periods, hardening of the arteries, heart failure, and other ailments can develop.  Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm HG) using two numbers, for example 120/80. The first number (the “systolic blood pressure”) represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number (the “diastolic blood pressure”) represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Blood pressure of 140/90 and above is considered high.  Raised diastolic pressure is considered more serious than raised systolic pressure as it has more serious long-term effects.