Blood pressure the force of blood against the walls of the arteries, while high blood pressure or hypertension is the condition wherein the pressure or force gets high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Since high blood pressure has no specific symptom, it became known as silent killer if not properly addressed.
Yoga has been known as an effective way to reduce high blood pressure. Among the basic yoga exercises are breathing exercises. During these exercises, yogis learn how to breathe calmly and rhythmically. Yoga breathing exercises have both physical and mental effects. Physically, it enhances respiratory muscles, making them stronger. Through yoga breathing exercises, more oxygen reaches your bloodstream, making the breathing easier.
Yoga breathing exercises also benefits your entire circulatory system. It allows the blood to transport to the digestive, reproductive, glandular, and immune system, thus, giving way for a better circulation of blood and nutrients in the body. It improves circulation in the legs, thus rejuvenating the blood. Yoga breathing exercises also stretch the body’s major blood vessels, keeping them free-flowing and elastic.
Yoga breathing exercises help supply oxygen to the blood and push fresh nutrients to all peripheral vessels and capillaries. This process improves circulation, meaning the brain receives more oxygen that results to improved alertness, memory, and mood. Since proper blood circulation flows inside your body, it also benefits your vital organs, allowing them to receive a steady supply of the nutrients they need for optimal functioning.
As for the mental effects, regular practice of breathing exercises gives you greater and proper concentration, improves your willpower, and develops steadiness. Constant practice of yoga breathing exercises make you feel calmer, thus reducing stress – a common cause of high blood pressure. Since yoga is a good de-stressor, yoga breathing exercises yoga breathing exercises reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. It can be attributed to the automatic nervous system, which directs the heart rate, digestion and other unconscious functions. Rhythmic breathing clears your mind, and eventually pushes away strenuous and upsetting thoughts. You can practice yoga breathing techniques whenever you feel stressed, fatigued, or restless or in need of immediate relief.
In yoga, yogis call breathing exercise as pranayama or “control of breath”. During these exercises, the breathing is being controlled, thus reducing the rate, and eventually reduces the strain on heart. The duration of inhalation, retention, and exhalation of breath is regulated with the aim of strengthening and cleansing the nervous system and increasing a person’s source of life energy. Pranayama practice also makes the mind calmer and more focused.
Controlled breathing or ‘pranayama’ reduces the need of oxygen, thus moderates the production of carbon dioxide. This makes the respiration rate slow down, calming the heart and improves high blood pressure. The speed of breathing is divided into three parts: 1.) The smooth breathing that continues naturally without any effort (Quiet Breathing) 2.)The protracted breathing which is caused by deliberate slowing down of the breathing (Deep Breathing) and 3.) The quick breathing which is caused by deliberate increase in the speed of breathing (Fast Breathing).