Hatha Yoga

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

“Yoga is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “union” – a perfect description of an approach to precious harmony between mind and body. There are six distinct schools of yoga, but the type known as hatha yoga is the most popular in the West. Hatha yoga is a seamless blend of exercise, meditation and breathing techniques to help the body achieve the natural balance that is the essence of good health.

Breathing exercises, known as pranayama, help the mind to focus for deep relaxation. Slow, deep breathing patterns improve respiratory health and increase lung capacity. We all tend to take breathing for granted – an autonomic response that we don’t think about. Stress and tension can cause us to take shallow or irregular breaths. Learning to pay attention to breathing, especially during stressful situations, will help you stay calm and relaxed, and keep your blood pressure under control.

Yoga poses, called asanas, balance and stretch your body, increasing flexibility, improving circulation and promoting relaxation. Dhyana, the meditational component of yoga, improves concentration and relieves mental stress. All three yoga components – breathing, postures, and meditation – work synergistically with one another.”

-Excerpted from my book: Lower Your Blood Pressure in Eight Weeks

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