Turning my world upside down
March 9, 2006 3:02 PM   Subscribe

I have medically controlled high blood pressure. Is doing head and shoulder stands I find in lots of hatha yoga a really bad idea? If so, what's the physiology behind that and what substitutes are there?

I inherited the hypertension from my parents, but I'm only 30 years old. In my late teens and early 20s, before I knew about the condition, I really liked the inverted positions.

I will double check with a doctor before doing anything, but I thought I'd get the enlightened version of conventional wisdom that floats around here.
posted by ontic to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Best answer: Yoga Journal answers.

In part: In fact, inversions trigger several reflexes that temporarily reduce blood pressure, so theoretically, regular practice may enhance treatment of your high blood pressure. Note, however, that people whose high blood pressure is not under control should bring the pressure down first by other means before practicing inversions.

...To safely practice inversions, I recommend that you introduce them over several months, starting with mild or partial inversions first, then gradually attempting steeper inversions, and moving on to Headstand last.

posted by occhiblu at 3:59 PM on March 9, 2006

You never know for sure about this kind of thing, which is why I'm not making any recommendation about what *you* should do. But if I were a 30 year old person with medically controlled high blood pressure, I'd do as many headstands as I desired, freely and with wild abandon.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:50 PM on March 9, 2006

How 'controlled' is controlled?
posted by docpops at 8:06 PM on March 9, 2006

Response by poster: It's generally only ever 10 points above 120/80 when I'm taking medication.
posted by ontic at 11:00 AM on March 10, 2006

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