Below yoga sequence should be used as a guide by yoga teachers to create their own yoga class plans
Yoga For High Blood Pressure: Restorative Yoga To Control The Symptoms Related To Hypertension
The internal organs, mainly the heart is at risk when having blood pressure, leading to heart disease and a stroke. Through the regular practice of yoga, students can benefit in either healing or controlling the symptoms related to blood pressure. Along with asana practice for stimulating the muscles of the heart, deep breathing practices like pranayama are also said to help in dealing with the symptoms, while easing and relaxing the nervous system. Anxiety and stress play a great role in impacting the pressure of the blood as it moves through the blood vessels, that will affect the heart. For anxiety and stress induced hypertension (blood pressure) or otherwise, the practice of yoga asana with breath awareness, along with pranayama and meditation help in relaxing the muscles of the heart and other internal organs while also keeping the various systems of the body active and in balance.
Certain inversion (where the heart is higher than the head) yoga poses should be avoided by yoga teachers, since the heart is under excess pressure with the heavy breathing with the opposite flow of blood. Though, there are a few beginner level inversions when done with proper support and guidance, can be considered. Some poses like; Setubandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose Block), Viparita Karani Bolster (Legs Up The Wall Pose), or Pincha Mayurasana Preparation At Wall (Feathered Peacock Pose Preparation At Wall), etc.
Similar to many Restorative Yoga Sequences, the given sequence too uses props and also each yoga pose is held for a minimum of one minute, while taking enough rest between the poses. Focus in more on opening the heart with the flexing of the arms and shoulders, as well as the stretching of the abdominal muscles, flexing the hips and the lower back. The most important thing for yoga teachers to remember though, is through the practice of this sequence, students should not be seen breathing fast and rapid, or should sense any kind of discomfort and pain in the upper body.
Women with high blood pressure who are going through menopause, can benefit from the practice of this additional yoga sequence - Yoga For Perimenopause and Menopause. Also note, for senior citizens with blood pressure, care should be taken to make the sequence short and easy for them.
Important note: The following yoga sequence is for educational purposes only and should be practiced under the guidance of a yoga teacher after the consultation of a medical practitioner.
Yoga For High Blood Pressure: Restorative Yoga To Control The Symptoms Related To Hypertension: Yoga Poses, Cues, Steps, and Breathing instructions
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CONNECTING TO YOUR BODY AND MIND WITH SLOW BREATHING
A. Seated in Easy Pose (supported with a blanket/cushion/bolster), extend the spine and closing the eyes begin the deep slow breathing.
B. Ensure the hips feels relaxed and the breathing is slow. Try to maintain continuous awareness of the breathing to essentially make it smooth and slow.
C. Sit here for about 12 rounds of breathing.
D. Before the start of the practice, it is important to ensure the breathing is right and in your control. When the breathing feels right and smooth, then the practice of yoga asanas become that much more easy and effective.
A. From the simple practice of connecting to the breathing, moving to a more systematic practice of breath awareness is the Three Part Breath.
B. This method of being aware of the breathing will help to bring both the breath and the mind in control, which is essential to relax the nervous system, respiratory system, and the circulatory system.
C. To understand the practice of this breathing pattern, read the STEPS at Three Part Breath (Dirga Pranayama).
D. Practice this kind of breathing for about 12 rounds of both inhalation and exhalation.
E. Ensure with each breath the body feels relaxed and at ease.
WARMING UP THE UPPER BODY TO HELP WITH BETTER BREATHING
A. Releasing from the Three Part Breath, relax and sit in Easy Pose.
B. From Easy Pose, being the practice of warming up the upper body to help with better breathing as you open the arms, shoulders, and chest.
C. From Easy Pose:
Inhale - raise the arms up
Exhale - bring the left hand on the floor and raise the right as you look up
Inhale - bring both the arms up
Exhale - bring the right hand on the floor and raise the left as you look up
Inhale - bring both the arms up
Exhale - bring the left hand on the floor behind you as you twist towards the left side.
Inhale - raise both the arms up
Exhale - bring the right hand on the floor behind you as you twist towards the right side.
Inhale - release and interlock the arms behind you and look up stretching the shoulder and the chest.
Exhale - release and bring the torso in a forward bend.
Inhale - release and relax back in Easy Pose.
Inhale/Exhale - to repeat the same one more time.
D. A great way to open the chest and ensure the maximum use of the diaphragm with awareness.
E. Practice this for TWO rounds. Ensure the breathing is slow and smooth. Seated on a cushion/blanket/bolster is an option if one finds it a discomfort seated on the floor for so long.
BRINGING BALANCE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BODY, STARTING FROM THE BASE OF THE SPINE
A. Release and come to sit in Baddha Konasana supporting the thighs with Yoga Blocks.
B. Holding the feet with your hands, extend the spine and sit up straight.
C. Slowly begin with the flapping of the thighs which will help to open the hip areas that will then gradually allow for the reduction of blocks at the hips.
D. At times blocked channels causes more stress that further lead to building pressure in the blood vessels. Hence, in this pose the channels open up ensuring the base of the spine is free of such blocks to allow for the free flow of prana (energy) into the rest of the channels.
E. Hold this posture for about six rounds of breath and then removing the yoga blocks you could then practice the flapping of the thighs. One could also flap as you support the thighs.
F. Flapping should be done along with the breathing process.
A. From Bound Angle Pose Blocks and with the support of a chair/bolster/cushion:
Exhale - stretch the torso and go forward
Inhale - loosen the body as you are in a forward bend
Exhale - extend the torso and go in a deep forward bend
Rest the arms and head on the chair
Rest the head on a bolster/cushion extending the arms on the floor.
B. A forward fold is a great way to release the tensions at the base of the spine, hips, neck, and head. This further helps to relax the nerves bringing a sense of calmness in the entire body. Stay relaxed and calm helps to keep the pressure of the blood flow in control.
A. Releasing from the practice of Bound Angle Pose Chair, stretch the legs and come to sit in Staff Pose (Dandasana). Take a few rounds of breath as you extend the spine and the legs.
B. From Staff Pose (placing a blanket below your hips):
Inhale - bend the right leg and place the right foot on the floor close to your left thighs
Exhale - press the thighs close to your chest as you hold it with your left hand
Inhale - twist the torso towards the right side as you place the right hand on the floor behind you
Exhale - twist the neck and head to stay in Extended Sage Marichi Pose On Blanket Hand On Knee
Inhale/Exhale - to stay here for about 6 breaths.
Inhale - release and relax back in Staff Pose
Inhale/Exhale - to repeat with the other leg as you twist towards the left side
Inhale/Exhale - to stay for 6 breaths.
C. Twists are always grounding poses and relaxes the upper body encouraging better functioning of the internal organs. Releasing the tensions at the base of the spine while also clearing the blocks, the upper body receives better supply of the prana (energy) to soothe the nerves.
D. Stay in this deep stretch with the eyes closed and with each exhalation make the twist deeper. Use the abdominal muscles to help stay in balance.
E. Ensure the hips are firmly settled on the cushion/blanket. While twisting make sure to lift the torso up before the twist, to get better range of motion.
A. While seated in Staff Pose place a bolster and blanket on the legs, and from here:
Inhale - extend the spine up
Exhale - bring the torso in a forward bend as you reach for the toes to hold
Inhale - loosen the body
Exhale - extend to go deeper in the forward fold
Inhale/Exhale - to stay for about 6 breaths as you stretch forward
Inhale - release and come up
Exhale - relax back in Staff Pose
Inhale/Exhale - to repeat one more time to go in the forward bend
Inhale/Exhale - to stay for 6 breaths.
Inhale - release and sit in Staff Pose
B. From twists going to a forward bend is easier as the range of motion improves with the opening of the muscles at base of the spine. In this forward fold the stretching of the spine, mainly at the upper back, helps with the effective use of the chest and the diaphragm ensuring deeper and complete breathing.
C. More prana (energy) in the body would help to also exhale better. With the increase in both the inhalation and exhalation, the entire system in the body is encouraged to perform better. Thus, this reduces and controls the pressure of blood in the arteries keeping the heart healthy and safe.
D. Seated forward bend poses are cooling and calming to the body and mind as it encourages deeper inhalations.
A. Release from Staff Pose and come lie down on the back in Constructive Rest Pose.
B. While here, bring the feet close to each other and rest the arms close to your body.
C. Begin the slow deep breathing with awareness and remain here for about 6 breaths.