High blood pressure has plagued the Black community of decades and persists. Three out of four African-American men and women in the U.S. will develop high blood pressure before the age of 55, according to the Journal of the American Heart Association. Research shows that high blood pressure is caused by a variety of factors, but stress and diet are the main culprits.

Beyond medication, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing stress, adopting a yoga practice can be extremely beneficial in lowering the blood pressure naturally.

Reserve some time to reduce stress and try these yoga poses for high blood pressure.

Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

  • Perform this pose near a wall. Lie on your back.
  • Raise the legs up and lie them flat against the wall.
  • Lay the arms along the sides of the body.
  • Relax and breath deeply for 5-20 minutes.

Bridge Pose

  • Lie on the floor. For support, place a folded blanket under your neck and shoulders. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor with your heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.
  • Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and arms into the floor, push your tailbone upward toward the sky. Squeeze the buttocks and lift the pelvis off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel to each other. Clasp the hands below your pelvis while resting your weight on the shoulders. Squeeze the shoulder blades together.
  • Fix your gaze down the center of your torso. Lift your chin slightly away from the chest.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Exhale and release, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor, one vertebrae at a time.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottana)

  • Sit tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a deep breath in, then exhale as you bend forward from the hips.
  • Reach for your knees, shins, or toes.
  • Aim to press your chest against your thighs. Relax the muscles in your head and neck.
  • Hold the pose for 3 deep breaths.

Dolphin Pose

  • Come to kneeling on your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders. Place your knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide and flat on your mat and press them firmly into the floor.
  • Lower your elbows to the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel to each other, creating and “11” with your arms.
  • Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Straighten your legs and press your heels into the floor as much as you can. Create a “V” shape by pressing your pelvis up toward the ceiling. Push your sit bones up toward the ceiling. Keep your spine long and extend the stretch across your shoulder blades.
  • Relax your head and neck. Align your ears with your upper arms. Fix your gaze between your legs or toward your navel.
  • Hold the pose for 5-25 breaths.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

  • Kneel on your hands and knees with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips. Your hands should be spread wide apart. Your feet should be flat and hip width apart.
  • Inhale as you lift your body up, keeping your shoulders back and pushing backwards into your hips. Push your buttocks upwards. Keep your heels down as much as possible. Keep your knees bent as needed, ultimately straightening the legs and bringing the chest to the thighs. Lift one foot then another back and forward (peddling to get the effect of the feet being flat, which is the goal). You are forming a V with your body.
  • Exhale relaxing slowly lowering the body, relaxing the arms and legs.

*In doing these poses, it’s important to try to get the mind into a meditative state. This means releasing negative thoughts and quieting the mind. Find a comfortable and quiet time and place to perform your poses.

Consult your physician before beginning any workout routine.

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