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Learning to relax with yoga

Don’t put away your hypertension medicine just yet, but Hatha yoga may help reduce your blood pressure, some studies suggest. At the very least, it can help you learn how to relax and better manage the stress that can affect your blood pressure.

It makes sense: Hatha yoga emphasizes relaxing into postures, along with slow, deep breathing. Other studies show that yoga may also counteract insulin resistance, promote weight loss, lower your heart rate and lower stress hormones—all heart-healthy benefits.

Hatha yoga, which focuses on specific postures, called asanas, as well as breath control and concentration, comes in a variety of different styles. Choose the style that best suits you. But before starting any yoga program, talk with your healthcare provider first.

Iyengar is a gentle form of hatha yoga that lets you use chairs, pillows, straps and blocks for support. It’s great for people who’ve been inactive for a while.

Kripalu yoga focuses on intertwining poses with the breath. It’s gentle and spontaneous, and the poses are held for only a short time.

Ashtanga, also known as power yoga, will give you a good cardio workout. It focuses on helping you develop strength and endurance and less on helping you meditate.