About Me

My photo
Blog author, Solai Buchanan is an experienced Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with an MS from Columbia Teachers College. She specializes in treating heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome,and other chronic diseases. She is a provider at a full-service cardiology practice accepting most insurance and staffed with a primary care MD, pediatrician, and cardiologist. Call: 718.894.7907. NYCC is lead by Interventional Cardiologist Sanjeev Palta, MD, FSCAI, FACC. He trained at Cornell-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the State University Hospital of Brooklyn. He currently is an Attending Cardiologist at New York Methodist Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Having performed over 2000 invasive cardiac procedures Dr. Palta’s patients know they are in trusted hands.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Yoga is a mind-body therapy based on movement, breathing, and mindfulness. Over the last few years, many small studies have found that practicing yoga is good for heart health as well as mental health.  A recent small study adds to findings that regularly practicing yoga can significantly improve blood pressure. 

The new study included 60 people who had pre-hypertension but were otherwise healthy.  Blood pressure is made up of two numbers. The top number, the systolic pressure measures the pressure in the arteries when blood is pumped from the heart.  The bottom number, the diastolic pressure, measures the pressure between heartbeats. Persons with pre-hypertension have a systolic blood pressure of 120-139 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and/or a diastolic reading of 80-89 mmHg.  Pre-hypertensives are at high risk for developing full-blown hypertension which is defined as having a systolic pressure of 140 mmHg or higher and/or a diastolic pressure of 90 mmHg or greater.  Both pre-hypertension and hypertension increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.  In the U.S. approximately 1 out of 3 adults have pre-hypertension and nearly 75 million have hypertension.

To investigate the impact of hatha yoga on blood pressure, researchers assigned half of their participants to practice hatha yoga for 1 hour daily while the other half did not take up yoga.  Both groups were advised on standard measures to lower blood pressure including increasing cardiovascular activity, reducing salt intake, and quitting smoking.  The yoga treatment group received yoga instruction for a month and then did the activity at home. The yoga practice included breathing control exercises,  physical poses that involved stretching and strengthening components, and meditation.

After three months, those in the yoga group had notable decreases in blood pressure, while those in the control group did not.  Participants in the yoga group had 24-hour diastolic blood pressure and night diastolic blood pressure decreases of about 4.5 mm Hg, and 24-hour average arterial pressure decreases of about 4.9 mm Hg.  These were clinically significant results as it is estimated that among pre-hypertensives, every 2 mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure decreases the risk of coronary heart disease by 6% and the risk of stroke by 15%.

What to do:  Consider adding some yoga into your life.  Hatha yoga, the type of yoga in this study is a more gentle form of yoga with more emphasis on breathing and mindfulness.  It is appropriate for persons at all fitness levels.  If making it to a yoga studio is not practical for you, there are many yoga DVD’s and resources online for streaming yoga.  Also, cable television providers often offer exercise-on-demand or feature regular yoga programming.  Many area senior centers and recreational centers offer very affordable class options.  Also, studios often offer a “community class” midday at reduced rates.

Information adapted from articles available at:


Manchanda SC, Narang R, Reddy KS, Sachdeva U, Prabhakaran D, Dharmanand S, Rajani M, Bijlani R. Retardation of coronary atherosclerosis with yoga lifestyle intervention. J Assoc Physicians India. 2000 Jul; 48(7):687–694.  Abstract available at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11273502