Hypertension is a common lifestyle induced condition in present times. It is a silent killer disease. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, then you have to make your lifestyle a healthy one. This is done by exercising regularly, eating healthy food and medication. Here yoga also helps you a lot in keeping your blood pressure under control. By doing pranayama or deep breathing exercises you can keep your hypertension at bay.
What is Pranayama?
In Sanskrit, ‘prana’ implies life force energy and ‘ayama’ means giving proper direction.
Therefore, pranayama means giving proper direction to your breath that infuses life force energy into your body. When you breathe normally, you are unaware of your breath.
You don’t become aware of breathing till you encounter a stuffy nose due to a cold or when you have to catch your breath after running, isn’t it?
Well, when you breathe consciously and deeply, you direct energy to specific parts of your body. This is called pranayama.
How Does Pranayama Control Hypertension ?
There are different types of pranayama that energise as well as cool your body.
For controlling high blood pressure, follow the breathing exercises that are slow and relaxing to your mind and body. Here are some effective pranayama that help control hypertension when practised on a regular basis.
1. Chandrabhedan Pranayama:
- It makes you feel cooler during summer as it has a cooling effect on your body.
- It brings your blood pressure down and makes you relax better.
- It also helps in treating acidity and heartburn.
Steps to do it:
- Sit comfortably on a yoga mat and cross your legs.
- Keep your spine erect, relax your shoulders and close your eyes.
- Keep the thumb of your right hand on your right nostril.
- Rest the left hand on your left knee with palm facing the ceiling.
- Now close the right nostril with right thumb and inhale through the left nostril.
- Close the left nostril with your index and middle fingers.
- Exhale through the right nostril.
- This completes one round of Chandrabhedan pranayama.
- Repeat with the first step to complete 15-20 rounds.
2. Sheetali Pranayama
- It helps bring down body heat and cools your system.
- It relieves high blood pressure and calms you down.
- It helps treat acidity and heartburn.
- It helps treat tonsillitis and improves your digestion.
- It enhances your eye and skin health.
Steps to do it:
- Sit cross legged on a yoga mat comfortably and close your eyes.
- Keep your back straight and keep your body relaxed.
- Put your tongue on your lower lip and roll your tongue.
- Inhale through your mouth and hold your breath as long as you can.
- Close your mouth and exhale through the nose.
- This completes one round of Sheetali pranayama.
- You can do 5 rounds initially and go upto 15 rounds with regular practice.
3. Anulom Vilom Pranayama
- It calms and relaxes your body and mind.
- It boosts your blood circulation and enhances lung capacity.
- It improves your concentration levels and makes the nervous system strong.
- It is beneficial in treating conditions like hypertension, depression, migraine, asthma etc.
Steps to do it:
- Sit comfortably on a flat surface with your legs in a crossed position.
- Keep your spine straight and relax your shoulders.
- Keep your left hand on the left knee with palm facing the ceiling.
- Close your eyes and inhale deeply.
- Close your right nostril with right thumb and exhale through the left nostril.
- Now keeping the right nostril closed with your thumb, inhale through the left nostril.
- Now close the left nostril with ring finger and exhale through the right nostril.
- Inhale through the right nostril while keeping the left nostril closed.
- Exhale through the left nostril while keeping the right nostril closed.
- This completes one round of Anulom Vilom pranayama.
- You can do 11 rounds daily twice a day to relieve high blood pressure.
4. Udgeeth Pranayama
- It relaxes your mind, brings steadiness and releases stress.
- It lowers hypertension and increases your ability to focus.
- It alleviates insomnia and helps you sleep better.
- It helps treat acidity, removes anxiety and enhances your memory.
Steps to do it:
- Sit comfortably with crossed legs on a flat surface.
- Take a slow, long and deep breath.
- While exhaling slowly chant ‘Om’ stretching it as long as you can.
- Repeat for 5 minutes and relax with your eyes closed.
5. Bhramari Pranayama
- It calms your nerves and increases your concentration levels.
- It lowers stress and hypertension.
- It makes your vocal chords strong, cures throat problems and enhances voice quality.
Steps to do it:
- Sit comfortably on a flat surface with your legs crossed.
- Keep your back straight, body relaxed and close your eyes.
- Close your ears with your index fingers.
- Take a deep breath in and hold it for a few seconds.
- While exhaling making a humming sound like a bee with your mouth closed (pronounce an elongated ‘hhmmmm’ ).
- Inhale deeply, hold the breath for some time and repeat the humming while exhaling.
- Repeat for 2-3 minutes and relax with your eyes closed for a few minutes.
6. Sheetkari Pranayama
- It cools down your body and helps you relax.
- It lowers hypertension and strengthens your gums and teeth.
Steps to do it:
- Sit comfortably in a cross legged position on flat surface.
- Keep both your hands on the knees with palms facing the ceiling.
- Keep your back straight, relax your shoulders and close your eyes.
- Join your upper and lower teeth together.
- Put the tip of your tongue against the front teeth.
- Let the rest of your tongue touch the palate inside the mouth.
- Now part your lips and suck in a deep breath though the teeth with a chilling sound.
- Close your mouth and hold the breath as long as you can.
- Now exhale through your nostrils, completing one round of Sheetkari pranayama.
- Repeat 5 times and increase the count with daily practice.
Points to Remember
While doing any pranayama there are certain things you should keep in mind:
- Choose a spot where you feel relaxed and peaceful.
- Make sure the surroundings are free from dust and pets.
- Do the pranayama on a light stomach. Maintain a gap of 2.5-3 hours between meals and pranayama.
- Breathe slowly and deeply expanding your lungs and not your tummy.
- If you have low blood pressure, avoid doing these pranayama as they further cool your body.
- After each pranayama sit or lie down with your eyes closed and keep your body relaxed.
- Practice the pranayama under an expert’s supervision initially to do it in the correct way.
- Dawn is the best time to practise pranayama when the air is fresh and energising.
- If you cannot sit in a cross legged position you may sit on a chair or sofa where you feel more comfortable. Just ensure that your body is not tense and your backbone is kept straight.
- Practise the pranayama regularly to get the maximum benefits.
Practise different forms of deep breathing exercises on a regular basis and experience the difference it makes to your health. When are you planning to start with pranayama?
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Composition of Mukta Vati – The Ayurvedic Medicine for high blood pressure
- Brahmi (Centella asiatica)
- Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus pluricalis)
- Arjuna Ghana (Terminalia arjuna)
- Gazoban (Onosma bracteatum)
- Jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculatus)
- Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa)
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
- Prawal Pishti (Corallium rubrum)
- Mukta Pishti (Calcinated shell of Pinctada margaritifera/Pearl Powder)
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