Both of my parents have a diagnosis of hypertension and were put on antihypertensive prescription medication to control it. I think my mother received the diagnosis in her 30s. I was turning 40 when I first heard my physician say my blood pressure was “elevated” and wanted it monitored in order to determine if I too would need to be put on some medication. Boy, am I glad that shortly after that I discovered yoga!
I found yoga while celebrating my 40th birthday in Neversink, NY at the New Age Health Spa. I recently learned that this place closed down a couple of years ago, which made me a little sad to think that it truly launched me on a path toward holistic health and wasn’t able to sustain itself, unlike the riches the pharmaceutical companies rake it. The first things I noticed after practicing yoga initially were that my low back pain (from bulging/herniated discs) went away and the chronic tension in my body began to lessen. The best news though was when I went back to the doctor’s office and was told my blood pressure was back to “normal”. Now, after many years of practice, my blood pressure is actually considered “low”!
This dramatic change in one of the leading causes of morbidity in my own experience – and one in which prevented the need for a life-long attachment to a prescription medication – was all the motivation I needed to continue to explore the benefits of a yoga practice, eventually leading me to becoming a teacher to offer such healing benefits to others. Unfortunately, my individual story doesn’t equal proof of a connection, so it has taken many years for the research to show that yoga does have a positive effect on your blood pressure.
In a recent systematic research article review that included 49 clinical trials, the data now show that yoga, when breathing and meditation practices are included, is a viable antihypertensive lifestyle therapy. It is in moments like these that I would like to say “I told you so”!
If you would like to read more on this recent research, please click the button below: