Yoga for High Blood Pressure

December 27, 2009 · Print This Article

Yoga for High Blood Pressure

Q: Which Yoga poses are beneficial for high blood pressure?

Studies have shown that can be an effective complimentary treatment for high blood pressure. You may see these studies for yourself by using PubMed and doing a search for “Yoga for high blood pressure.”

Of course, I don’t recommend using Yoga as your only form of treatment, so I encourage you to look at Dr. Weil’s suggestions for natural ways to work with high blood pressure.

Yoga Poses for High Blood Pressure

The primary Yoga poses that are beneficial for high blood pressure incorporate forward bending (placing your head below the rest of your body). These poses include:

1. Head to Knee Pose
2. Standing Forward Bend
3. Seated Forward Bend
4. Downward Facing Dog – make sure to support your head on a blanket, or block.

Don’t expect to go all the way into these poses right away. You should just go to where the stretch is slightly uncomfortable, never to where you experience pain. And breath as you hold the stretches.

These Yoga poses are beneficial because they promote a parasympathetic nervous system response in your body. The parasympathetic response is known as ‘rest and digest.’ This relaxes the body, relieving stress, and helping regulate blood pressure. Energetically, these poses have a yin quality. Yin is the feminine aspect–relaxing, restorative, quiet, internal. Yang qualities, on the other hand, are usually outwardly directed, physically demanding, and energizing.

Contraindications for High Blood Pressure

Some Yoga poses are contraindicated for high blood pressure. These include inversions, where your legs are above your head, or poses where you are balancing on your head. It also includes poses where you are dropping your head back behind your body–for instance, camel, wheel or fish. Most poses with a yang quality are also contraindicated. These include most standing poses like the warrior series (I, II, III, IV), triangle pose, and side angle pose.

The best thing you can do for your practice is to listen to your own body, and connect with a yoga therapist. This is someone who as been trained in the therapeutic applications of Yoga.


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