A regular routine of Yoga helps in maintaining blood pressure and ensures proper circulation of blood to all parts of the body. As it involves breathing consciously and deeply while simultaneously synchronizing with the body movements, the blood flow to different areas of the body can be controlled and thus stress can be eliminated naturally. Asanas can soothe the nerves and help slow down an abnormal heart rate while it also increases the immunity and thereby reduce chances of heart attacks and strokes. Yoga gives positive energy to the body and mind. It makes you happier and more hopeful in life. In the long run, this helps to regulate blood pressure levels.
With International Yoga Day around the corner, here are some Asanas that will help you maintain your blood pressure and keep it in check.
1. Supta Padangusthasana:
Supta Padangusthasana or the Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe pose involves one to firmly lie on the floor with the legs extended strongly. With one thigh firmly grounded, the pose requires the person to lift the other leg at a 90-degree angle (perpendicular) and touch the big toe of the foot with the hands, performing a stretch. It involves looping a strap to the extended leg(at the heel) and holding the ends of the strap with both the hands. The leg needs to be tightly hugged to the chest.
This asana increases the blood flow to different parts of the body, including the hips, prostate organs, knees, elbows, and the hands. In addition to it, it also helps the smooth functioning of the digestive system and secretion of hormones.
Virasana or the hero pose is a kneeling asana that stretches the thighs, knees, and ankle thus strengthening the arches of the foot. The process involves several forward and backward bends and certain twists. Virasana may also be used as an alternative to other seated asanas such as the 'Padmasana' (lotus pose) for meditation. The pose is entered by kneeling down with the knees together, and separating the feet so that the buttocks can rest on the floor.
It helps cure high blood pressure, asthma and flat feet. It increases the circulation of blood to the lower part of the body (the legs, knees, and feet) and provides relief to tired legs.
Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend involves a four-step procedure that includes the person to touch his calves, knees, and toes initially with their palms and eventually with the tip of their nose or the forehead. The exercise begins with the person stretching their legs and swinging their upper body back and forth. With each swing, the person is required to touch the knees, calves, and toes in a sequence followed by which the foot/toe has to be touched with the forehead, making it a full stretch.
Paschimottanasana increases blood circulation to all the major abdominal organs such as the kidneys, intestines, liver, and pancreas. This boosts metabolism as well as improves digestion ability. Daily practice of this asana can alleviate symptoms of Menopause. It increases blood circulation to the pelvic region thereby nourishing the organs in the lower part of the body.
Uttanasana or the standing forward bend where the toes are grasped from a standing position. The pose is entered from the standing position of Tadasana, bending forward at the hips until the palms can be placed on the floor, ultimately behind the heels. The exercise begins from a standing position from which the person is required to bend down to touch the knees and then the toes and is finally complete when both the palms are placed on the floor behind the heel.
It allows direct blood flow to the head which increases the influx of blood cells and rejuvenates the mind. The asana has qualities that can give relief to high blood pressure and it also stimulates the kidneys, liver, and spleen, thus giving the person physical comfort and relief from any pain.
Vajrasana or the diamond pose involves the practitioner, who sits on the heels with the calves beneath the thighs, and there is a four finger gap between the kneecaps, and the first toe of both the feet touch each other and the person sits erect. Usually, breathing exercises like Pranayama, Kapalabhati, and Anulon Vilom are done sitting in this position, and it is said that in doing so, the body becomes as strong as a diamond. The position should be maintained for 5-10 minutes in order to get the maximum benefit.
Vajrasana helps better blood circulation in the body. It modifies the blood flow by reducing flow in the lower portion, especially in the legs and increased blood flow to the digestive organs resulting in better efficiency of the digestive system.
International Yoga Day is observed and celebrated worldwide on June 21.
(In the picture, clockwise from top-left: Virasana, Paschimottanasana, Vajrasana, Supta Padangusthasana, Uttanasana)