Yoga is known for its benefits to the body – strength building and stress reducing. But did you know that yoga is a great tool for lowering blood pressure? In a study of prediabetic and diabetic men and women, those who practiced yoga at least three times a week, along with breathing and relaxation exercises, saw a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Here are five yoga poses that you can incorporate into a regular exercise routine. Read details of each pose and watch a video below.
- Start on your hands and knees. With your palms pressed into the floor and your knees open a little more than hip-width apart, push your buttocks back to sit on your feet. Stretch your arms as far in front of you as possible, continuing to press your palms or fingertips into the floor.
- Rest your forehead on the floor, taking the pressure off of your shoulders. You can also rest your arms, palms facing the sky, along either side of your body. Inhale and exhale deeply for 5-10 breaths.
- To get out of the pose, return to your hands and knees.
Seated Forward Bend
- 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.
Bound Angle Pose
- Sit comfortably on your mat. Bend your knees and bring the bottoms of your feet together. Allow gravity to let the legs fall open.
- Adjust the legs to your comfort level. Use yoga blocks under the knees for added support.
- Relax your upper body and allow your body to become one with into the mat. Remain in the pose from one to five minutes, depending on your level of comfort.
Head to Knee Pose
- Sit on the floor with your legs wide.
- Inhale, then on your exhale, lean your side torso to the right thigh, with your upper body facing forward.
- Press the left knee toward the floor, as you breathe evenly and reach toward the right toes. Keep your right knee as straight as possible. If allowed, grasp your foot with your hands. It’s ok to grab the ankle.
- Fix your gaze toward sky as much as allowed.
- Hold the pose for 3 to 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
- Kneel on your mat. If needed for the calves and thighs, use a folded blanket or bolster for support. Touch your knees together then slide your feet apart. Press the tops of the feet on the floor. Breathe easily.
- Exhale and sit back halfway. Use your thumbs to draw the skin and flesh of the calf muscles long. Slowly sit down between your feet.
- Aim to rest your buttocks comfortably on the floor. Sit on a block if your sit bones do not reach the floor. Allow a thumb’s-width space between the inner heels and the outer hips. Press your thigh bones into the floor with your palms. Then lay your hands gently in your lap, palms up or down.
- Sit up with your spine long and straight. Press your shoulder blades back and down and lift your chest. Press the shoulders down and away from the ears. Anchor the tailbone into the floor.
- Hold the pose from 30 seconds to one minute. Gradually extend your stay up to 5 minutes. To come out of the pose, press your hands against the floor and lift your buttocks up off of your heels. Cross your ankles underneath your buttocks, sit back onto the floor, then stretch your legs out in front of you. Shake the legs and knees up and down a few times on the floor.