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Back bends in yoga are know to have beneficial effects on ones body. It counteracts the forward bending that is very prevalent in our daily lives - driving a car, working on a computer etc. But I've heard it may not be advisable for someone with high blood pressure. Is that true?

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The direction of bending the spine is not the issue itself. With high blood pressure, the following precautions should be followed:

  • avoid positions where the head is below the heart
  • avoid sudden elevations (eg. standing up quickly from a lying position)
  • avoid holding the breath
  • pause or take a rest if the breath starts getting shallow or quicker

That means, some backbends are not recommended. Advanced backbends can involve multiple of the above factors, an example is standing up from a full bridge. Other backbends, like the lying cobra pose, are pretty safe for almost everyone.

Backbends can be more challenging for many people, because they are not used to it in normal daily life. Therefore, people have a tendency to tense, and hold their breath in backbends, that is the main reason why caution is necessary.

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If you are merely hinging from the waist This could result in too much compression of the lumbar area Therefore it would beneficial to lift the upper back(thoracic ) Pushing forward with the hips and gently bend backward thus creating space Between the each vertebrae and only going as far as you can. If this feels uncomfortable then it would wise to avoid it altogether.

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