Can you do yoga if you have high blood pressure?

Woman doing meditation in Anjali Mudra
Meditation in Anjali Mudra

There are two types of #hypertension. One is essential hypertension and the other one is secondary hypertension. The secondary hypertension is the result of the specific condition of the body whereas the cause is unknown in essential hypertension. 95% of the total hypertension patients belongs to essential hypertension.

The risk factors for high blood pressure are age, sex, family history and ethnicity, which are uncontrollable and unhealthy life style, lesser physical work or exercises and overweight, which are controllable. The influence of yoga in controllable factors of Hypertension is well proven.

High blood pressure is condition susceptible to stroke. While doing inverted Asanas, the veins and arteries in the head are under pressure which is not good for those who are hypertensive. Hence hypertensive patients should avoid inverted Asanas like #Sirshasana (Headstand) and #Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand). #Athomugasana and #Padahastasana should be avoided by those who are extremely susceptible for Stroke.

Normally forward pending Asanas put pressure on the heart and results in increased heart-rate whereas backward bending Asanas relaxes the heart. It is also a fact that the practice of forward bending Asanas helps one to reduce Hypertension. #Suryanamaskara (Sun Salutation) is the combination of both forward pending and backward pending poses. To avail the benefits of the forward bending Asanas, the hypertensive should go far Suryanamaskara rather than practicing the forward bending poses alone. However the gentle approach is needed in practice under the guidance of a yoga expert.

Yoga Nidra reduces stress and blood pressure. Those who are under medication for Hypertension should take care by monitoring the BP going down below normal. Any yoga pose should not be done with haste.

Stress and obesity are the two major factors of the elevated BP level. Yoga is the real stress buster and it helps to treat obesity. Lesser physical work together with obesity causes the metabolic syndrome where hypertension, hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia are the results. Yoga enhances the metabolic rate both directly and indirectly reducing the body weight.

Pranayama also helps such conditions. While doing any Pranayama, Kumbhaka (retention of breath puts pressure on the heart) should be avoided.

We may conclude that yoga can be done by a hypertensive patient, but with care. He should avoid poses like Headstand, Shoulder stand and any Pranayama that involves retention of breath. Besides, he should take extreme care in doing forward bending poses and Yoga Nidra. He should perform yoga in a slow pace and under the guidance of an expert. Suryanamaskara is the best choice for hypertensives.



  1. Just the Essentials of Essential Hypertension

  2. International Journal of Yoga Therapy

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