Yoga often combines physical poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. In recent years, yoga has grown in popularity for both its gentle, low-impact approach and its associated health benefits, including lower blood pressure.
A 2019 study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that adults ages 30 to 69 with high blood pressure who practiced yoga three times a week saw an 11 mm Hg reduction in systolic pressure and a 6 mm Hg reduction in diastolic pressure.
To determine yoga’s effect on blood pressure, researchers analyzed 49 yoga studies from 1983 to 2018 involving 3,517 participants with high blood pressure. Studies were included in the analysis only if they had a control group of participants who were not exercising or dieting. Yoga that included breathing techniques and meditation or mental relaxation elicited greater blood pressure reductions than those that did not.
Doctors typically recommend aerobic activities for heart health, but many people find them difficult to stick with. Consistent yoga practice might be a good blood pressure–lowering alternative.
Yoga promotes social interaction and is more enjoyable to some people than vigorous exercise. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a yoga practice. Not all yoga poses are appropriate for everyone.