Try this breathing yoga series proven to lower a healthy person’s blood pressure in as little as two weeks of regular practice, even for beginners.
What is Breathing Yoga?
Breathing yoga, known as pranayama in the yoga world, is a kind of meditation. In a breathing yoga class, you won’t perform yoga poses. Instead, you sit in a comfortable seated position and breathe as instructed. Breathing yoga is typically easier to do than silent meditation because because you concentrate on your breath, which gives your mind something to do. Unlike traditional meditation, where you stay in the same seated position for an extended period of time, in breathing yoga you can stretch your legs and switch seated positions between the different breathing exercises.
Breathing Yoga Study
This breathing yoga study from S. Nijalingappa Medical College sought to find out if breathing yoga therapy lowers blood pressure for healthy yoga beginners. Researchers selected 50 healthy men and women between the ages of 20 and 60. Each participant was a yoga beginner and had never done breathing yoga before, but showed enthusiasm about learning. During the study, the participants did not do any physical exercise except the breathing yoga training.
How Often Should I Do Breathing Yoga?
If you want breathing yoga to lower your blood pressure, try following the program in this study. The exact breathing yoga exercises performed in the study are listed below. The participants attended breathing yoga class for 15 consecutive days from 6 to 8 a.m. If you’re thinking, “Wow! Two hours!” keep in mind only 45 minutes of the class is dedicated to breathing yoga, plus 20-minutes of meditation. The breathing yoga class consisted of six components, with 45 minutes dedicated to the breathing yoga exercises.
The six components are:
- 10 minutes of prayer
- 45 minutes of breathing yoga
- A 5-minute break
- A 30-minute lecture on health
- 20 minutes of meditation
- 10 minutes of prayer
Breathing Yoga Exercises
The breathing yoga series in this study consisted of eight breathing yoga exercises, appropriate for yoga beginners, in this order:
- Abdominal Breathing, known in Hindi as Vibhagiya Pranayama
- Thoracic Breathing, known in Hindi as Madhyama Vibhagiya Pranayama
- Clavicular Breathing, known in Hindi as Aadya Vibhagiya Pranayama
- Full Yogic Breath, known in Hindi as Poorna Mudra Pranayama
- Alternate Nostril Breathing, known in Hindi as Nadishuddi Pranayama
- Cleansing Breaths, known in Hindi as Kapalabathi Kriya
- External Breathing, known in Hindi as Bahya Pranayama
- Cooling Breaths, known in Hindi as Sitali and Sitkari.
Cardiovascular Benefits of Breathing Yoga
The results of this study, published in a 2011 issue of the journal Heart Views, show breathing yoga lowers blood pressure and pulse rates for healthy people in just 15 days. Cardiovascular parameters measured after the study show the yoga beginners had significantly lower systolic, by about four points, and diastolic blood pressure readings, by about 3 points. They also had significantly lower resting pulse rates, about three fewer beats per minute. If you have high blood pressure and are thinking about trying breathing yoga to lower blood pressure, consult your health care professional first.