A Question About High Blood Pressure


Recently I checked my blood pressure level is 190+ doctor says it is uncurable. I take medication daily. What kind of meditation will cure this problem?

—Gopalakrishnan, India


Dear Gopalakrishnan,

High blood pressure is a serious condition that causes many complications that are very detrimental to your health. Please follow your physician’s recommendations for taking medications.

You can enhance the effect of the medication and likely reduce the dosage in future, with your physician’s guidance, if you lose weight (if you are overweight), stop smoking (if you smoke), follow a low salt diet and practice yogic techniques of pranayama, deep relaxation, and meditation.

Pranayama breathing techniques that involve slow deep breathing through the nose, deep relaxation and meditation all help to enhance the parasympathetic division of the nervous system also known as the “rest and digest” response. Parasympathetic mode balances the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, also known as “fight or flight” response and in this way reduces heart rate and blood pressure.

Chandra Bheda Pranayama, in which we inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril, has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure after practicing just 27 rounds. Those with high blood pressure should not hold the breath so please do not add a retention phase to this practice. Breathing with emphasis on the exhalation being longer than inhale is also very soothing to the nervous system. Again don’t strain. Work up to this elongated exhalation very gradually.

Other calming breathing practices include measured breathing (modify to avoid holding the breath), which is part of the Hong Sau meditation technique that is taught at Ananda Centers throughout the world including India.

A guided, calming visualization in savasana, also known as relaxation pose, before meditation will make your meditation time even more effective by releasing physical and mental tension. If you are feeling too restless to relax and sit for meditation, then doing a series of gentle Ananda Yoga postures will help to ease the transition from daily activity.

A comprehensive routine using all of these yogic techniques in addition to lifestyle changes as mentioned above is likely to offer the best opportunity for controlling high blood pressure. It is best to learn these techniques from a qualified and experienced yoga teacher or yoga therapist.

You might consider getting a DVD on Meditation Therapy by Jyotish Novak, a CD called Metaphysical Meditations which has guided visualizations based on the poetry of Paramahansa Yogananda by Swami Kriyananda, and an Ananda Yoga routine on DVD which are all available from crystalclarity.com.

May your practice of yogic techniques bring you radiant health and well being on all levels!

Kind Regards,

Maitri Jones RN, ERYT 500, Ananda Yoga Therapist