Pretzel-like poses are hip

IF YOU think all that "hippy nonsense" is, well, nonsense, and that yoga is just boring, pretzel-like poses, there's good news and bad news.

A study by the University of Pennsylvania has found that yoga can reduce your blood pressure and your chances of dying young.

Previous studies have found that yogis may also have a younger biological age if they include regular meditation in their regime.

The latest finding is good news because something this simple can actually help lower your risk of a heart attack.

But it's bad news if you don't want to pull on a pair of tights or trackies and lie on a rubber mat.

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The authors said that yoga could have an extremely beneficial effect on people suffering from hypertension, especially when used in addition with other lifestyle modifications like healthier eating.

High blood pressure is one of the main risks for cardiovascular disease, something that kills 10,000 Australians a year.

You will know you have it if you get road rage, or regularly want to choke the life out of your co-workers, and your systolic/diastolic measurement is over 120/80.

According to the National Heart Foundation of Australia, one in three Australians aged 30-65 years have been told by a doctor that they have high blood pressure.

This equates to 3.5 million men and women.

At the Heart Foundation Conference in Adelaide last week, the Foundation and the George Institute for Global Health called for an updated approach to blood pressure management.

Prof Vlado Perkovic, executive director of the institute, said the approach to blood pressure management at the moment is based on 20th century notions of hypertension as a disease, rather than blood pressure as a risk factor for cardiovascular events.

Dr Rob Grenfell, National Heart Foundation director of cardiovascular health added that high blood pressure could lead to serious health problems, such as a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney disease.

"High blood pressure is often called the 'silent killer', because there are no symptoms or signs of high blood pressure," he said.

So what are you waiting for? A little bit of Eastern wisdom may make the difference between being stressed out and a happier, healthier life.

One, two, three, ohm …


At a glance

  • Aim for a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or under.
  • Know your other numbers - cholesterol, weight and pulse rate.
  • Tell your GP if heart disease runs in the family.
  • Have a regular check up, especially if you are over 50.