Breathe your stress away: Yoga lowers blood pressure

Is stress raising your blood pressure to unhealthy levels? Brazilian researchers recommend letting it all out through your left nostril in a pranayama exercise. An article in Science Direct showed that adopting yoga breathing exercises can help reduce and manage your blood pressure levels.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a very common ailment. It derives from multiple factors such as genetics, poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, and even pollution.

During hypertension, your blood flows faster and more forcefully than it normally does. This stronger blood flow wears out the walls of your blood vessels. It can lead to severe health complications or even death.

There are medicines prescribed for hypertension, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and diuretics. However, they often have severe side effects.

The best way to deal with it is to change your lifestyle. Patients are encouraged to eat healthier food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and take up greater amounts of physical exercise.

They should also avoid anything that can trigger bouts of the disorder, such as salty foods or stress. (Related: Scientists confirm: You can use acupuncture to lower your blood pressure.)

Controlling your breathing can bring healthy balance to your body

Yoga is a popular means of exercise and stress management. It is a system of exercises that draws upon centuries of Indian medicinal and philosophical practices.

Most Westerners immediately associate flexible physical positions, breathing techniques, and serene meditation sessions with yoga. But the system also encompasses proper nutrition. After all, the right kind of fuel is needed to bring out the best performance.

One of the most important parts of yoga is pranayama. It translates to “control of breath.” The vital energy that flows through the body is called “prana,” and “ayama” means control.

Yoga teaches that pranayama can control the rhythms of energy inside your body. Practitioners seek to manage their prana flow in order to attain perfect health in mind and body.

Ancient authorities like Patanjali say that controlling the breath is important for achieving a meditative trance. Different schools of yoga teach about several forms of pranayama that can control the different kinds of prana in the body.

Many pranayama techniques involve breathing through just one nostril or alternating between the left and right ones.

Pranayama breathing techniques help manage blood pressure levels

A research team from São Paulo State University (Unesp) took a thorough look at the effects of pranayama on the blood pressure (BP) of people. They were interested in the potential of yogic breathing exercises as a complementary treatment for patients with hypertension.

They studied 13 trials all in all. Eight studies involved acute BP responses that immediately took place after pranayama exercises. The remaining five covered chronic BP responses that lasted over longer periods of time.

They reported finding levels of improved responses in six acute BP studies and all of the chronic BP studies. Both diastolic and systolic blood pressure were reduced to lower, healthier levels by the yoga breathing exercises.

During their review, the researchers noted that the pranayama method that called for slower rhythms and controlling the nostrils achieved better effects than the other techniques. The exercise that involved breathing in and out of just the left nostril was particularly effective in lowering diastolic and systolic blood pressures.

They concluded that the pranayama technique with the left nostril breathing is the most effective yogic breathing exercise for hypertensive patients who want better control of their blood pressure.

If you have grown interested in yoga as a means of improving your health, you can find out more about it at

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