New clinical guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiologists have recategorized millions of adults as having high blood pressure (known as Rakta Gata Vata in Ayurveda). Whereas only readings above 140/90 mmHg qualified as “hypertensive”, now a combination of systolic readings over 120 and diastolic readings over 80 do.
For over 100 million adults in the U.S., hypertension is a very real and prevalent reality, whether they realize they have it or not.
From the perspective of the three doshas, Rakta Gata Vata can occur because of increased mental anxiety and stress associated with Vata dosha; because of emotional turmoil from anger and jealousy associated with Pitta dosha; and because of poor health and vital organ malfunctioning associated with Kapha dosha.
High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Essentially, as the integrity of your circulatory system (heart, blood vessels, etc) is compromised due to poor health and lifestyle habits, the harder it has to work. More and more pressure will be required to pump blood through narrow, stiff, and damaged blood vessels. This leads to strain on the heart and other vital organs.
The earliest intervention possible in catching hypertension, the silent killer, and getting control of it is the ultimate key to avoiding chronic disease and the need for pharmacological aids down the line.
Don’t miss these 5 natural ways to lower high blood pressure:
Modifying the diet to best balance the three doshas and remove toxins from the body will help stabilize blood pressure. Eating fiber-rich fruits and vegetables to ward off an aggravated Vata dosha will not only combat constipation but aid the body in lowering high cholesterol levels that contribute to high blood pressure as well.
Limiting sodium intake also plays an important role in managing high blood pressure as does avoiding red meat and increasing consumption of lemon, parsley, garlic, alfalfa, and amla (Indian Gooseberry).
Routine yoga practice has been shown to help people lower their high blood pressure and improve their overall health and well-being. In addition to cultivating a keener mind-body awareness, yoga practice offers low-impact exercise that strengthens the heart, reduces stress, and even potentially combats arterial stiffness associated with hypertension.
Yoga asanas that are good for high blood pressure include Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Halasana (Plow Pose), and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose).
Helping others can have a transformative effect on your overall mental, physical, and emotional health. In addition to promoting happy moods and an improved sense of self-worth, volunteering also acts as a great stress reliever. A 2013 study revealed that adults over 50 who volunteered on a weekly basis were less likely to develop hypertension compared to non-volunteers.
An imbalance in Vata, which is responsible for activating and stabilizing the nervous system, is a key culprit in creating high blood pressure. Meditation techniques and deep breathing practice can lend a hand in helping calm the sympathetic nervous system that responds to stress and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Balancing the Vata in this way will have a profound impact on how well the body manages stress too.
For people with hypertension, accurate and consistent monitoring of blood pressure levels at home is a must. Experts recommend tracking daily readings to form a foundational understanding of what your baseline blood pressure reading is. Over time and with the methods mentioned above, you will better be able to track how your levels decrease and be alerted to any significant changes that may signal a different underlying cause, like an infection, is at work.
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