Do not confuse the term ‘blood pressure’ with the d isease of high blood pressure. Blood pressure is merely a standard measu rement reflecting the pressure of the heart’s beat pushing blood to flow all through the blood vessels of the body. It is only where there is an elevated level of this press ure that we call it “high blood pressure” or hypertension, a potentially dangerous disease.
The flow of blood throughout the body requires suff icient force or pressure to be adequately distributed. The initial contraction of the heart muscles is what creates the flow that can be measured by the pressure the b lood exerts. When the body is exerted, the requirement for oxygen is increased an d as a result the metabolic rate increases, thus increasing the heart rate and blood pressure.
Increased blood pressure may be the result of physi cal exertion or negative emotions like fear and anger, or mental tensions li ke anxiety or stress. The heart has to exert itself to provide more blood for all these reasons. The heart also subdues the rate and intensity of its beating and the pressure this evokes after the cause that called forth the exertion vanishes. A temporary rise in th e pressure of blood is a natural response to the body’s needs and is not a disease. A permanent elevation in the level of blood pressure is a disease, although increased blood pressure is not the disease but rather the consequence of the disease (which is the root cause of increased levels of blood pressure).
Blood is forced out of the heart because of the con traction of the heart muscles. Pressure is generated on the walls of the blood vessels by this flow of blood. The pressure increases in proportion to the amount of blood being pumped out of the heart. In some instances a rise in blood pressure i s not due solely to the amount of blood being pumped but due to the reduced circumfer ence of the blood vessels through which the blood flows, either because of ve ssel narrowing or loss of vessel elasticity. As a result theblood vessels are not ab le to expand to the required extent hence increasing blood pressure.
Another reason for a rise in blood pressure is an i ncrease in the quantity of blood in the body. The total amount of blood in the Circulatory System of our body is approximately five liters, which circulates all ove r the body again and again. If the amount of blood increases for any reason, there is a resultant rise in blood pressure. An increase in the level of salts or glucose in the body increases the density of blood, which also raises blood pressure.
The functioning of the heart and that of the blood vessels is moderated by the body’s nervous system. The hypothalamus in the brai n is the base for this control. If the hypothalamus gets stimulated due to mental stre ss it affects the function of the heart and the blood vessels. If the signals from th e hypothalamus become intense, the blood vessels remain in a contracted state and may go into spasm. This keeps the blood pressure in the higher state. Organs of the b ody do not receive sufficient blood supply if the blood vessels remain in contraction,w hich means the cells of the body do not receive adequate oxygenand waste formed in the cells is not carried away by the blood. As a consequence the body gets fatigued and cannot work efficiently.
Blood pressure is never even all over the body. The pressure is at its maximum at the point where it is pumped out from the heart and is at a low point as it re- enters the heart. It is measured near the blood vessel of the arm for the sake of creating a standard location for comparison. A belt is tied to the arm before measuring the blood pressure. The blood pressure is of two types- the ‘ upper pressure’ (Systolic) and the ‘lower pressure’ (diastolic). The pressure that is created when the heart is in a 42 contracted state is the upper pressure and that whe n the heart is in expanded state is the lower pressure. That means the lower pressure i s the constant pressure in the body. It starts increasing with the contraction of the he art and then falls down to the limit of the lower pressure.
Generally, in a normal healthy adult, this pressure is approximately 120/80. The normal levels of blood pressure of an individua l may be different in some cases but such cases are exceptional and rare. The lower diastolic level tends to be the same in all ages whereas the higher levels tends to incr ease with age. A permanent rise of blood pressure levels indicates the presence of dis ease. If the systolic pressure measures 90 mm and above constantly or if the diast olic pressure measures 15-20 units higher than the person’s regular level, it is not thought of as natural and can be termed as disease.
If the kidneys do not properly dispose of body wast e the waste mixes with the blood increasing its density. The result of this in creased density of blood is rise in the blood pressure. Such increased blood pressure can return to normal level if the kidneys start functioning normally. Blood pressure can rise with increase in blood glucose in case of a diabetic patient. The blood pr essure can be controlled with control of blood sugar. It also rises in case of he art disease and decreases when the heart is treated.
The disease of hypertension is a hidden enemy, as i t is not discovered unless measured. No symptoms are seen in the initial stage s but it keeps on creating adverse effects on the important organs. It keeps on ruinin g the body, ultimately proving hazardous to life.
Although the cause of this disease is not found on the physical level, it lies in the mental level and can be found there. The name i tself directs to the cause - ‘hypertension’ – excess tension or stress. The dise ase is thus heavy stress and the consequence is rise in blood pressure. This directs us to the treatment of the disease - releasing the excessive stress. But even now, medic al sciences detect the high blood pressure as a disease and give medicines to decreas e the increased blood pressure.
This is a temporary treatment as the blood pressure increases again after the effect of medicine is over. It is of course better to control the blood pressure using medicines instead of making the body organs ineffic ient due to the higher blood pressure. But it should be kept in mind that this i s not the permanent treatment.
The permanent treatment is to release the excessive tension and Yoga is very useful for the purpose. Let us first discuss what t his tension is and what its consequences are.
Tension is an unnatural state. Tension is created i n case of performing some work. If the work is physical, the tension is physi cal, whereas if the work is mental the tension is at the mental level. That means the body or the mind has to work excessively due to this tension. The body needs ext ra oxygen and digestive fluids to perform this work. These are supplied through the m edium of blood and hence the blood supply has to be increased. This increases th e work of the heart as blood supplier. The heart has to exert itself each and ev ery time tension increases. Frequent or constant tension implies enhanced work for the h eart without rest. As a result the blood vessels contract, sufficient blood is not sup plied, and the impurities from the cells are not carried away. This results in slowing down the functioning of the cells and ordinary rest or sleep is not sufficient to rel ease this tension.
The amount of secretion of adrenaline hormone in th e adrenal glands increases through the medium of hypothalamus as a result of i ncreased mental stress. An increase in the amount of this hormone stimulates m any physical activities. Constant 43 stimulation of these activities creates adverse eff ects on the body’s functioning. Rise in blood pressure is one such adverse effect.
Increased mental tension also stems from our mental reaction to external circumstances. Managing this reaction is the way to avoiding mental tension. Proper training to regulate our own reactions will help in this case. Processes like asanas, Pranayama, Yoga nidra and contemplation are the fea tures for the treatment of these tensions. The significance of Yoga stated by the gr eat sage Patanjali- “Yogah Chittavritti Nirodhah” is the only comprehensive wa y of treatment.
The definition of Yogasana as stated by Patanjali i s ‘The stable and comfortable state of the body and the mind.” The w ay to attain this state is deliberate relaxation at the physical as well as mental level. Asanas are not brisk movements like those in exercise. Muscular tension increases in ex ercise whereas it reduces in the asanas. This automatically reduces the need foroxyg en, thus reducing the stress on the heart. Patanjali has also stated ‘ Anant Samapatti ’, i.e., direct the mind towards the higher powers to attain stability of mind and peace of mind in the conflicts of daily life. As the outer muscles relaxed in Yogasanas, th e blood supply to and the functional balance of the inner muscles, pituitary glands and internal organs is improved. These effects are produced by asanasperfo rmed in the proper way.
Pranayama starts with control of respiration. There is a close relationship between respiration and circulation of blood by the heart. The rate of respiration and that of the heart are interdependent and both of ra tes are impacted by mental stress. In Pranayama the rate of respiration is decreased thus reducing the heart rate and in effect, establishing mental stability. The mental s tability attained reduces existing stress and avoidsthe onset of new stress.
Disorders are created when an imbalance is created in the ‘ prana’ that controls the body. It is the Pranayama that can regain this imbalance. This helps in reducing the trouble of hypertension. Since Pranayama affect s the nervous system and creates relaxation there it directly reduces blood pressure .
Pranayama reduces the requirement for oxygen, reduc ing the generation of carbon dioxide, thus further reducing the rate of r espiration. This establishes stability of the mind. This means that the study of Pranayama eliminates tensions of the body and the mind by relaxing them. As a result they fun ction optimally. Amongst all types of Pranayama, Ujjayi Pranayama particularly carries the ‘ prana’ peacefully. It is regulated through Naadishuddhi Pranayama. Ujjayi P ranayama also affects the Carotid Sinus, which in turn stimulates reduction i n the levels of hypertension. Of course, only inhalation and exhalation is to be per formed in this Pranayama, excluding breath retention.
Contemplation is the study of concentration, i.e., study of focusing the mind at one place. This has positive effects on both body a nd mind. The effects described below can be seen in this context.
The easiest and primary form of contemplation is ch anting Aum in a voice that can be heard by our own ears. If hypertension patie nts chant Aum for half an hour daily, their hypertension will surely be reduced.
Yoga Nidra is a kind of contemplation in an easy fo rm. Yoga Nidra brings about relaxation on physical, emotional and mental levels. This is what the hypertension patient needs. Hence regular performan ce of just Yoga Nidra will also cure the patient. The instructions of Yoga Nidra ca n be listened to in recorded form. There is no need of an instructor for this purpose.
Deep breathing, Pranayama, and Yoga Nidra are the p rocesses that regulate hypertension. The following course is useful to ove rcome the disease rapidly.
Monday- Prayers, Supine position, Shavasana, hand m ovements exercise-1, leg movements exercise-1, Tadagasana, deep breathin g in Tadagasana, Sitting position, relaxed state in sitting position, Swasti kasana, Bhramari, Prayers.
Tuesday- Prayers, Shavasana, hand movements exercis e-1 & 2, leg movements exercise-1, chin movements exercise-1, si ngle legged Pavanmuktasana, Shavasana, Vajrasana, shoulder movements exercise-1 , Bhramari, chanting of Aum, Prayers.
Wednesday- Prayers, Shavasana, hand movements exerc ise-1, 2, 3, leg movements exercise-1, 2, chin movements exercise-2, Pavanmuktasana single legged & both legged, Shavasana, Vajrasana, shoulder movem ents exercise-1, neck movements exercise-1, Bhramari, chanting of Aum, de ep breathing & Prayers in Swastikasana.
Thursday- Prayers, Shavasana, hand movements exerci se-1, 2, 3, leg movements exercise-1, 2, 3, chin movements exercise -1, 2, 3, Pavanmuktasana single legged & both legged, Shavasana, Vajrasana, shoulde r movements exercise-1, 2, neck movements exercise-1, 2, Standing position, Katicha krasana, Shavasana, Padmasana, Parvatasana, Bhramari, chanting of Aum, deep breath ing & Prayers.
Friday- Prayers, Shavasana, hand movements exercise -1, 2, 3, leg movements exercise-1, 2, 3, chin movements exercise-1, 2, 3, Pavanmuktasana, Shavasana, Vajrasana, shoulder movements exercise-1, 2, neck m ovements exercise-1, 2, stomach movements exercise-1, Standing position Katichakras ana, Shavasana, Bhramari, chanting of Aum, deep breathing (4: 4 ratio), Praye rs.
Saturday- Prayers, Shavasana, hand movements exerci se-1, 2, 3, leg movements exercise-1, 2, 3, chin movements exercise -1, 2, 3, Pavanmuktasana single legged & both legged, Shavasana, Prone position, Sa hajahasta Bhujangasana, Vajrasana, shoulder movements exercise-1, 2, neck m ovements exercise-1, 2, stomach movements exercise-1, 2, Standing position Katichak rasana, Tadasana, Teeryak Tadasana, Shavasana, Bhramari, chanting of Aum, dee p breathing (4: 4 ratio), Prayers.
Sunday- Prayers, chanting of Aum- 51 times, deep br eathing, Prayers.
Take revision of the processes taught in the last w eek and add the following to those in the following manner:
Monday- Revision, + Preparatory Movements exercise- 1, 2, 3, Janu Hastasana in the position of Vajrasana, chanting of Surya man tra (Aum rhaam, rheem, rhoom, rhaim, rhoum, rhah)
Tuesday- Revision, + Preparatory Movements exercise -4, 5, Hasta Shirasana, deep breathing (ratio 4:6)
Wednesday- Revision, + Preparatory Movements exerci se-6, single legged Sahaja Hasta Bhujangasana, inhalation with Sheetali Pranayama
Thursday- Revision, + two legged Sahaja Hasta Bhuja ngasana, inhalation with Seetkari Pranayama.
Friday - Revision, + inhalation with Sheetali Prana yama + exhalation with Bhramari Pranayama- 11 times, inhalation with Seetk ari Pranayama + exhalation with 46 Bhramari Pranayama- 11 times.
Saturday- Revision, + deep breathing (ratio 4:8)
Sunday- Prayers, chanting of Aum- 51 times, deep br eathing, Prayers.
The practice of all the above processes is necessar y in these weeks. It is necessary to perform Yoga Nidra once daily. It is s uggested to perform the necessary processes regularly with the advice of the therapis t. Medication must be continued initially and then it can be reduced with the docto r’s advice later. Regular practice of Yoga is capable of stopping the need for all medica tion.
Asanas are to be practiced on Level 3 Asaas;Tadagasana, Vajrasana series from Yoga Sopan book, Pavanmuktasana, Ardha Chakrasana, Anantasana, Bhujangasana– Shalabh asana– Dhunurasana, Ardhamatsyendrasana (1 minute each side) Tadasana – Tiryak Tadasana - Katichakrasana Trikona sana– Veerasana, Shavasana
Anulom Vilom Deep Breathing 15 minutes Ujjayi Pranayama without kumbhak for 10 minutes Sheetali Purak followed by Bhramari Rechak (21 roun ds)
Meditation on Anahat Chakra with mantra “Yam” Yoga Nidra for stress relief Walking for 60 minutes, once a day.
Asanas: Vakrasana, Uttanpadasana, Sulabh, Ushtrasan a, Marjarasana – Sankatasana,
Pranayama: Left nostrill breathing, Bhramari Pranay ama without kumbhak
Cleansing Practices: Neti – Agnisar 100 strokes tot al in 3 to 4 rounds
Sarvangasana, Halasana, Shirshas ana (Head stand) & its variations. Fast breathing, Right nostril breathing . Bhastrika. Any Pranayama with Kumbhak. Vaman dhouti, Shankha Prakshalana (Laghoo / Poorna.)
Suitable :Normal food with less fats & carbohydrate s but with high fibers. use minimum salts. Best food is fruits & vegetables.
Avoid: Nonveg food, Milk & milk products ( Skimmed milk can be taken), Rice, Oily & Spicy food, refined foods, Fast Food, Preserved F ood. Salts.
Yoga Vidya Dham, Kaivalya Nagari,
College Road, Nashik - 422005.
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