Reduce High Blood Pressure
With
Shavasana

Reduce high blood pressure with a relaxation technique popularly known by its Sanskrit term 'Shavasana' or savasana. Introduction to this yogic relaxation by expert Yoga Teacher and author Richard Rosen. Follow this and you will learn how to reduce high blood pressure without lifting a Finger!

by Richard Rosen

Go to most any yoga class and it’s likely you’ll end the session with a period of reclining relaxation, in a pose that’s traditionally known as Shavasana (pronounced shove-AH-suh-nuh). Yoga practitioners have been performing this pose for more than 500 years, one of its earliest descriptions is found in a book that dates back to around 1450. The word shava itself means "corpse," which may be rather unsettling to some novices, but I assure you the reference isn’t what it seems, and that one day I’ll take the time to explain it. Right now, however, I think it’s most important to get down to business, so to speak, and learn how to use this pose for relaxation.

It might seem strange to call Shavasana a pose, since to a casual observer someone doing it looks for all the world like she’s lying on her back and napping. But as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. Just like any other yoga exercise, Shavasana has its own rules to follow if it’s to be truly effective, that is, relaxing. To my way of thinking, Shavasana has three main elements, which I call Balance, Stillness, and Presence. Let’s take each of these in turn.

Reduce High Blood Pressure 

In order to maximize the relaxing effects of the pose, it’s absolutely essential that we lie in as neutral position as possible. Why? Because even though we may not be consciously aware of it, when our reclining position is unbalanced, it creates a disturbance in the brain, making true relaxation difficult if not impossible. So what is Balance? When you lie on the floor, draw a line along your spine and extend it out imaginatively between your legs. See then that your legs are equi-distant from that line and that the heels are no wider than your hips. Do the same with your arms, angling them about 45 degrees relative to the line, and to make things even more balanced try to rest the backs of the hands on the floor on the same knuckle. Finally see that your head is neutral, so the ears are equi-distant from the shoulders and the eyes equi-distant from the ceiling. Then close your eyes. You may find it necessary to put a folded blanket or small pillow under your head, and make sure you’ll be warm for the duration of your stay in the pose, but avoid tight fitting clothes if possible.

Next check your tongue and eyes. This may seem a bit obsessive but any kind of movement will stimulate the brain, again washing relaxation down the drain. So rest your tongue on the floor of your mouth, and see if you can stop your eyes from moving under the closed lids. Yes, I know from experience that’s a hard thing to do. Try turning your eyes down, as if peeking under your cheek bones. Finally—and here you’ll need to tap into the power of your imagination—pretend that your brain is sinking down onto the back of your skull.

Once you’ve gone through all of this, check yourself quickly one more time, then resolve to stay as still as possible for the duration of the exercise. Be forewarned that if you’re not used to lying quietly for any length of time, this practice at first may be extremely challenging, you’ll want to fidget in the worst way. But I can almost guarantee that if you do your best and give yourself time to adjust, you’ll eventually be able to lie still with the best of them.

The last element is Presence.

By that I mean staying conscious of yourself and not drifting off into daydreaming or sleep. If you found lying still was hard, this is likely to be even harder—again, at first. If you do happen to slip away and fall into a snooze, don’t worry about it, it happens to lots of yoga students even after many months of practice. But I feel that, in the end, it’s far more relaxing to stay awake and be present than it is to sleep, from which you may wake up thick and groggy. Try following your breath, it’s an old meditation practice, to help keep your awareness in the present moment. Be persistent, each time you wander off into the ethereal regions, bring your attention back to the breath. Eventually what seemed like a chore becomes easier and easier until, and I know this is might sound like an exaggeration, you will get a most pleasant and restorative experience from lying still and following your breath.

Two questions remain: how often and how long? Well, if you were trying to learn the piano, you’d agree that the more frequently you practice, the more likely it is you’d get better at it faster. Learning how to relax in Shavasana is no different, the more you practice, the faster it starts to work and the more effective it becomes, especially in those times when the stress level soars. I would say then a daily practice I best, maybe missing a day or so every now and again when your schedule is unusually busy, though of course that may be when you need the practice the most. I would also say that 8 to 10 minutes would be the ideal length of time for starters, though you may quickly find pleasure and release in a longer stay. 

Note:

You do not have to rely on drugs alone to reduce high blood pressure. A technique like Shavasana can start you on our journey to better health. You may just follow the above instructions and  guidelines which is from an experienced yoga teacher,  and we wish you well on your journey to being able to reduce high blood pressure lying down!

To read more about the author Richard Rosen click here.

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