One third have deadly blood pressure, but few know it
One out of three adult Australians have high blood pressure, says the Heart Foundation.
High blood pressure is the largest contributor to coronary heart disease.
For people with high blood pressure, there are often no symptoms or signs – they can have high blood pressure yet feel well.
Nearly three quarters of those who had measured their high blood pressure, did not realise it.
Women have almost as much high blood pressure problems as men. It’s not just a male problem.
How yoga helps to reduce blood pressure
Among other things, the version of a supported bridge pose in the picture reduces blood pressure and stress.
Like most yoga poses, it does it by targeting internal features of your body.
In this case, it targets the so-called baro-receptors situated in your neck.
The supported bridge pose, as in the picture, is one of several poses that help to reduce blood pressure.
These poses work because they involve the movement of the chin toward the chest.
In the process, the impact the “valves” in our body called baroreceptors. They are in the arteries on either side of the neck.
The word “baro” means pressure. The baroreceptors are arterial sites which are sensitive to changes in blood pressure in the neck. Their function is to keep pressure from getting too high as blood enters the brain so that virtually the same amount of blood (and therefore oxygen) is maintained in the brain at all times.
The neck position in these types of yoga poses stimulates the baroreceptors which therefore register too much blood pressure in the neck arteries.
The nervous system responds to this information by lowering systemic blood pressure.
What this means in practical terms is that the poses in effect “fool” the baroreceptors into “thinking” that the blood pressure is too high, and this causes your body to reduce blood pressure.
It is another good example of how particular yoga poses work on your internal body to give you healthier outcomes.
At the same time, yoga gets you more fit, flexible, and de-stressed.
In the supported bridge pose, such as in the picture, we use props like the block so we can stay a long time. Bolsters, folded blankets or firm pillows will also do the same job as blocks.
Whether or not there is a family history of hypertension, it is also a good idea for everyone over 35 to have their blood pressure checked occasionally by a health professional.
The yoga poses which are the most effective are any variation of the supported bridge (setubandha Sarvangasana) (pictured), shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana), feet-up-the-wall pose (Viparita Karani)