India — Hypertension is a lifestyle disease which is affecting more than 30% of the adult population worldwide or more than one billion people around the world especially more during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Increasing its prevalence within all age groups, the unhealthy dietary patterns and increased stress levels amid the frequent lockdowns, it is important to maintain it within the normal range.
As we mark the World Hypertension Day on May 17 this Tuesday, raising awareness especially in low to middle income areas and promoting the accurate blood pressure measurement methods is the key. In an effort to be in lieu with this year’s theme ‘Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer’, here are 3 Yoga exercises to perform at home as they help you lower blood pressure levels and beat hypertension:
1. Shavasana or corpse pose
Method: Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms relaxed at your sides. Gently close your eyes while keeping your feet a comfortable distance apart in a natural position and keep your arms straight along the body but away from the torso while resting your palms facing up.
Breathe naturally, allow your body to feel heavy on the ground and focus all your attention on your toes. Then shift your attention and begin to release each part of your body, organ and cell, consciously working from the toes up to the top of your head. Bring your mind gently back to your body if it wanders.
Be sure that you do not fall asleep and relax your face, feeling your eyes drop into your sockets and the softening of your jaw. Draw your attention to the sounds around you and try to find the most distant one until you find the sound closest to you.
When you feel relaxed, exit the pose by gently bringing your awareness back to your body and wriggle your fingers and toes while still keeping your eyes closed. Draw your knees in and slowly roll over to one side in sukhasana pose. Rest there for a moment in a comfortable seated position and open your eyes gently while slowly turning your attention outwards.
Benefits: Shavasana along with deep breathing relaxes the nervous system more than any other Yoga asana and this instantly brings down the body temperature. It relieves stress, repairs cells, relaxes the body and helps self-healing without pills for pregnant women.
2. Anulom Vilom Pranayam or Alternate Nostril Breathing
Method: Start by sitting in a cross-legged position. Rest your hands on your knees and close your eyes. Keep your right thumb on your right nostril and close it. Inhale deeply from your left nostril for 4 counts.
Now close your left nostril with your right ring finger and hold it for 2 seconds. At this step, you are holding your breath with both your nostrils being closed. Take off your right thumb from your right nostril and exhale deeply through your right nostril.
Inhale from your right nostril for 4 counts while continuing to keep your ring finger on your left nostril and then, close both nostrils for 2 seconds and exhale deeply with your left nostril. Repeat this process for 5 minutes. Concentrate on your breathing while doing it.
Benefits: This breathing technique has a number of benefits like improving immune system, boosting your memory, improving respiratory and cardiovascular health and regulating blood pressure. This Yoga asana also improves sleep and helps to de-stress.
As the ancient practice of controlling breath, Pranayama connects body and mind, supplies body with oxygen while removing toxins and is meant to provide healing physiological benefits. The stress-relieving effects of pranayama improves one’s sleep quality, increases mindfulness and reduces high blood pressure.
3. Bhujangasana or Cobra pose
Method: Lie down flat on your stomach. Rest your palms by the side of your chest, arms close to your body, elbows pointing outward. Inhale and raise your forehead, neck and shoulders.
Raise your trunk using the strength of your arms. Look upward while breathing normally. Make sure that your stomach is pressed on the floor. Hold the pose for 5 seconds. Slowly lie back flat on your stomach. Turn your head to one side and rest your arms by the side of your body.
Benefits: The reclining back-bending asana of Yoga called Bhujangasana or Cobra pose strengthens the spine, butt, butt muscles, chest, abdomen, shoulders, lungs and improves blood circulation while also releasing the stress in one’s body.
Precautions: Though it is also a useful remedy for asthma patients, it is not to be performed during an asthma attack.
Initiated by The World Hypertension League, World Hypertension Day is marked on May 17 every year. Through different themes each year, the WHL intends to not only raise awareness about hypertension but also of its factors and prevention methods.