Pranayama As a Tool To Combat Hypertonia

In the modern world there are many typical diseases that have become so popular that people stopped really caring about them. Hypertonia or high blood pressure is one of them. Although many people don’t feel it at all and therefore don’t treat it, its influence can be slow and sly: it affects target organs like brain and heart and eventually causes big troubles.

The only treatment classical evidence-based medicine offers are medications. But the problem with them is that curing one thing you inevitably cause problems in other parts of your precious body. Thus hypertonia – as well as any other illness – is much better to be addressed with a holistic approach.

As yoga itself is a very holistic system it can have positive impact on hypertonia as well. There’s no doubt meditation as well as many asanas are aimed to return your blood pressure back to normal but in this article I’m going to focus on the curing effect of two kinds of pranayama: Shetetali and Sheetkari.

There was held a randomized control trial with 60 hypertensive individuals, aged from 25 to 65, who were recruited from the general population located in and around Ujire, Belthangady, Karnataka, India. The study aimed to measure the effects of these types of pranayama on blood pressure, nervous system, and respiratory functions among hypertensive participants. They were divided into two equal sized groups where one half daily practised Sheetali and Sheetkari pranayamas 10 minutes each, and the second half was asked just to sit quietly for 20 minutes.

The participants who practised pranayama showed a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure, respiratory rate and heart rate. Therefore the study concluded that Sheetali and Sheetkari pranayamas appear effective.

 

How To Perform

Sheetali Pranayama:

  1. Sit in a comfortable posture and close your eyes.
  2. Keep your hands on your knees throughout the practice.
  3. Protrude your tongue from your mouth and extend it to a comfortable distance.
  4. Roll its sides up so that it forms a tube.
  5. Breathe slowly and deeply through the tube-like tongue.
  6. Close your mouth at the end of inhalation and slowly exhale through your nose.
  7. Repeat the same process for 10 minutes daily.

Sheetkari Pranayama:

  1. Sit in a comfortable meditative posture and close your eyes.
  2. Keep your hands on your knees throughout the practice.
  3. Press your lower teeth and upper teeth together and separate your lips as much as is comfortable.
  4. Breathe in slowly through the gaps in your teeth.
  5. Listen to the sound of your breath as the air is being drawn in.
  6. Close your mouth at the end of inhalation and slowly exhale through your nose.
  7. Repeat the process for 10 minutes daily.

 

Repeat the sequence of these two pranayamas for 30 days and probably you won’t need blood pressure medications any more.

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