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Breathing Techniques to Control Hypertension: How Pranayama Can Help

Take a deep breath! We often underestimate the importance of breathing exercises for health. Various studies have shown how slow and deep breathing is a fruitful alternative therapy for people struggling with lifestyle conditions. One such health condition is hypertension or high blood pressure. According to Indian yoga guru Dr. Hansaji Yogendra, practicing certain breathing exercises for high blood pressure may have potential benefits in controlling high blood pressure.

3 breathing exercises for high blood pressure

Dr Hansaji Yogendra, Director, Institute of Yoga and President of the Indian Yoga Association, says Pranayama can help control high blood pressure.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, high blood pressure, commonly known as high blood pressure, is on the rise. Our state of mind, clouded by emotions such as anger, frustration, irritation, restlessness and stress, contributes to the risk of high blood pressure. In addition, the constant stress makes us often forget to relax, an important factor behind this condition. Improper eating habits and lack of exercise also play a role. In light of these concerns, it becomes crucial to explore techniques that can effectively reduce hypertension. One such approach is by practicing Pranayama, ancient yogic breathing exercises. Let’s explore the best breathing exercises for high blood pressure and their therapeutic benefits.

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Abdominal breathing for high blood pressure
Try deep abdominal breathing to control high blood pressure. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

1. Yogendra Pranayama No.4

Yogendra Pranayama No.4 is a specialized breathing technique that emphasizes deep abdominal breathing to induce relaxation and alleviate stress-related factors that contribute to high blood pressure. Yogendra Pranayama No.4 promotes diaphragmatic breathing, triggers the relaxation response and helps lower blood pressure. Here’s how to practice this technique:

* Take a comfortable sitting position and place your hands on the lower part of the stomach, just above the navel
* Breathe in deeply and allow the abdomen to expand outward as the lower lungs fill with air
* Exhale slowly and completely, let the abdomen contract inward and gently release the air
* Repeat this rhythmic deep abdominal breathing for 5 to 10 minutes daily.

2. Rechaka

Rechaka, which comes from the Sanskrit word for “exhalation”, is a Pranayama technique that focuses on controlled and prolonged exhalation. It helps release tension, reduce anxiety and promote a calm mind and body. How to train Rechaka:

* Sit in cross-legged position like sukhasana
* Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose, filling your lungs with air
* Exhale slowly through the nose, extending the exhalation to a longer duration than the inhalation
* Aim for a 1:2 ratio, exhaling twice as long as you inhale.

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This prolonged exhalation induces deep relaxation and activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in a potential reduction in blood pressure levels. Engage in Rechaka for 5 to 7 minutes daily to experience its potential benefits.

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Anoluma Viloma Pranayama for high blood pressure
Breathing exercises can help you lower your blood pressure. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Anuloma Viloma

Anuloma Viloma Pranayama, commonly called alternate nostril breathing, is a widely recognized pranayama technique known to promote harmony and balance in body and mind. This is how you practice Anuloma Viloma.

* Find a comfortable sitting position so your body can relax
* Raise your right hand to your face with your eyes closed. Gently close the right nostril with the right thumb
* Inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril, filling your lungs with air
* When you have completed a full inhalation, release the closure of your right nostril and use your ring finger to close your left nostril
* Exhale slowly and completely through your right nostril
* Inhale through the right nostril, close it with the thumb and exhale through the left nostril
* Continue this rhythmic pattern of alternating nostril breathing for several rounds.

Anuloma Viloma Pranayama, without breath retention, is particularly beneficial for individuals with high blood pressure. This is because it facilitates relaxation, stress reduction and has the potential to regulate blood pressure levels.

By incorporating this pranayama into your daily routine along with Yogendra Pranayama No. 4 and Rechaka, you can further enhance the benefits of your breathing practice to effectively manage hypertension.

Importance of pranayama for health

Even spending just 10-15 minutes a day practicing pranayamas can have a profound positive impact on your body and mind. Pranayamas such as Yogendra Pranayama No.4, Anuloma Viloma and Rechaka, provide techniques to relax your breath, which in turn relaxes your entire being instantly. It is high time that we prioritize ourselves and create moments in our everyday life for self-care. Embrace the potential benefits of these Pranayamas, so you can regain control of your hypertension and experience the transformative power of the breath to promote overall health and well-being.

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