Pulmonary hypertension limits a lot of what a person can do, especially when it comes to activities that may elevate their blood pressure. Depending on the type and the severity of the pulmonary hypertension, patients may struggle with things as simple as walking the family dog or going up the stairs. For many patients, exercising seems out of the question, but recent studies have shown that not all exercises are as impossible as they may seem for those who want to try them out.
According to a 2016 study, a yoga regimen of 12 weekly 2-hour sessions had no adverse effects on a group of pulmonary hypertension patients of all fitness levels. The study showed significant improvement in anxiety, depression, and quality-of-life in the participants, which included patients on a combination of hypertension-specific therapies, and others on oxygen.
The participating patients practiced Iyengar Yoga, a form of Hatha Yoga focused on an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture and breath control. From this style of yoga, Dr. Awdish from the PHA-accredited pulmonary hypertension program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, along with other specialists, created a series of instructional videos called Yoga For PH.
Yoga For PH includes 40-minutes instructional videos, lifestyle and diet advice, and 3 yoga exercise levels, each incorporating a yoga mat and a chair for stabilization. Here are 4 of those videos to get you started.
This short clip introduces Dr. Rana Awdish, and quickly discusses yoga for patients with PH. It also goes over what viewers can expect from the next 3 videos: chair yoga, intermediate/standing yoga with chair, and advanced yoga.
This 13-minute video guides viewers through 6 yoga movements, all while they remain seated. To participate, viewers will need two chairs, a pillow or blanket, and a quiet space. Movements consist of: Easy Pose, Cat/Cow, Seated Side Stretch, Easy Pose Twist, Hip Opener, and Seated Savasana.
This 20-minute video guides viewers through 6 yoga movements similar to those of the previous video, but these exercises are performed from the ground instead of a chair, although a chair is used for support. The video begins with short deep breathing exercises and continues to a portion of standing, then laying down.
This 20-minutes video builds on the yoga movements taught in the previous two videos. The majority of the movements are done either from the ground or while standing, though there is a chair for support and balance. The pace of this video is quicker and should be followed with caution.
It is extremely important that you speak with your pulmonary specialist before initiating any exercise routine, including this one. Only your doctor can say if these exercises are appropriate for you. Yoga is not a cure for pulmonary hypertension, but it may provide some benefits in terms of relaxation and deep breathing exercises that can be useful for other daily activities. To learn more about your pulmonary hypertension or about pulmonary rehabilitation, schedule a consultation with our pulmonary specialists today.