Iyengar yoga and hypertension.

About 6 weeks ago, I began adding 2 to 3 Iyengar yoga classes to my regular yoga routine. I had heard that Iyengar yoga has been prescribed for hypertension by a leading local hospital, and a teacher at my studio had been highly recommended, so I decided, why not?

The last couple of weeks my BP readings at home have run around 135/90. That is almost – almost! – like not having hypertension at all, depending on who you believe. For years, 140/90 was the standard in this country; some time ago the “experts” dropped this down to 120/80. (I remain skeptical of this revised standard – I strongly believe this was done in order to promote pharmaceutical sales.) My BP readings in doctors’ offices continue to run ridiculously high – 160/100 at times – but since the minute I walk into a doctor’s office, I find myself in fight-or-flight mode, I don’t consider these results valid.

If I didn’t have a tumor growing in my body, I would be seriously reconsidering my intentions of surgery at this point. Regardless of whether or not the surgery happens, I plan to keep up the Iyengar classes.

And for those who need more than anecdotal evidence, an NIH-funded study:

Iyengar Yoga versus Enhanced Usual Care on Blood Pressure in Patients with Prehypertension to Stage I Hypertension: a Randomized Controlled Trial

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