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Is Bikram Yoga Safe For High Blood Pressure?

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Bikram is said to have wonderful effects on people suffering from high blood pressure levels. It is believed to normalize the pressure of blood over time, which makes it an excellent alternative to medication. Caution should be used though by people suffering from hypertension when practicing hot yoga.

Hot Yoga has been proven to be quite diligent in responding to high blood pressure; at times it leaves non believer medical practitioners doubtful about their b.p. monitoring kits. Bikram tends to normalize high blood pressure within two weeks of practice. People suffer from high blood pressure when the arteries shrink in size resulting in increased pressure. Normally when blood pressure levels are equal to or above 140/90, it is considered hypertension.

Hypertension can be caused by many common factors most frequent of which are stress, injury, obesity and excessive smoking or alcohol use. So how does Bikram help high blood pressure? Well the answer is quite simple, yoga lifestyle management tends to relax both the body and mind, by going through a range of exercises that reduces the stress levels which in turn leads to normalized body functions including blood pressure.

What to avoid:

When practiced with the correct amount of caution, Bikram yoga proves to be very helpful in decreasing high lblood pressure. Although hot yoga leads its participants through a series of 26 yoga postures, hypertension patients are advised not to engage in the following poses until their pressure returns to normal levels:

  • The backward bending portion of Half Moon
  • The Standing Bow Pulling
  • Balancing Stick
  • Cobra
  • The third part of Locust
  • Full Locust
  • The Camel

What poses to practice:

The poses of Bikram that are encouraged by instructors to reduce hypertension are listed below, but please note that you should always seek a doctors advice before practicing any of the following:

  • Easy pose
  • Shoulder stretches
  • Stand spread leg forward fold
  • Cat Pose
  • Half Spine Twist
  • Wind Relieving Pose
  • Double leg raises

The above listed poses are required to be done with a specific breathing technique called the Anuloma Viloma, which is also called the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. This way of breathing requires you to inhale through one nostril, retain the breath for a few seconds and exhale through the other. It helps in bringing down the heart rate, so it is the preferred breathing technique for hypertension patients.

As with any form of treatment or wellness therapy, it is extremely important to use common sense and caution while following your yoga regime. High pressure levels, if not monitored or treated correctly can lead to other serious health problems. So please always inform your instructor if you suffer from high blood pressure and be sure to rest during each set of exercises. Initially all hypertension patients should not overdo their yoga routine. They should start by doing only 5-7 counts of each pose in the beginning and later build it up to a higher count.

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