When I was growing up, my favorite food was fried shrimp.  Of course I wasn't getting this at home, so whenever we went out to a restaurant I'd ask permission to order fried shrimp.  I asked because it was always the most expensive item on the menu, Jewish guilt starts early.  In my early 20's, I was going to The Fashion Institute of Technology and living in Manhattan, I thought I was very sophisticated and upgraded to fancy, schmancy shrimp cocktails.  

In my 30's, still a shrimp lover, I was at a wedding that had the most gorgeous buffet of fresh, white jumbo shrimp I had ever seen.  I ate my weight in shrimp that night.  The next day I woke up looking like a Blow Fish with lips so big you could have stuck me on the car window.  My shrimp loving days were over, goodbye shrimp, forever!  Stay with me, there's a moral to this story.  When my mother saw me, she said what she always said, "Well, that never happened before." And there it is, my long winded way of telling you that things change.  Forget aging, things change when you're young too!  One day you have great skin, the next day you wake up covered in psoriasis (me at 22).  One day you're not allergic to something, the next day you are.  One day you can hold your liquor, the next day you're a toilet bowl hugger.  Things change.

I have high blood pressure now.  My whole life I had low blood pressure.  If my Mom were alive she'd say, "Well, that never happened before".  I gave blood once and the tech asked me if I was dead.  That's how low my BP was.  Recently, during my annual physical, after taking my blood presure, the Dr. wanted to check me into the hospital, that's how high my BP was!  She asked me if I was under any stress.  Oh no, I'm not under any stress, SAID NO WOMAN EVER!  

Normal BP is 120/80 and everyone should know that.  Also, everyone should have a BP cuff at home because you need to know your BP.  So many women do not know and that's why it's called the silent killer.  High blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke. Heart disease is #1 and stroke is #2 as the leading cause of female deaths.

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 301,280 women in 2019—or about 1 in every 5 female deaths."  One in every 5 is 1 too many!

There was no way I was letting the Dr. check me into the hospital that day, that was ridiculous to me.  I told her I could lower it, she gave me 20 minutes and left the room.  I called on my 'Secret Sauce' and went to a place I go often when I meditate.  That did the trick, 20 mins later, although it was not the perfect 120/80, it was no longer dangerously high.  If you don't know how to find you 'Secret Sauce' read this post.  You need to have this as your mental health weapon so you can always calm yourself when you're in the eye of a storm.  This is SO important!

Up until this point in my life I took no medication.  Lots of vitamins and supplements, but no drugs.  She told me I had to take blood presure medication and I told her I didn't want to.  For some reason I associated it with old age, and I know that's not the case, but in that panicked moment that's how I felt.  Then she asked how old I'd feel if I had a stroke and someone had to feed me.  That did it.  Smart Doctor.  

I wasn't happy about it though and I went on a research crusade, (as I do with everything), to find ways to naturally lower it.  And I take my BP with my cuff every day to make sure I'm good.  I have this BP cuff.  I'm not affiliated with them,  just linking to make it easy for you to get one.  

I'm not a medical professional, (obviously), I'm just sharing what works for me.  Today it's some yoga poses.  I'll continue on this subject in future posts because there's a lot you can do to lower your BP.  Lifestyle choices, food, tea, exercise, etc.

Here are 5 simple yoga poses that research has shown to lower blood presure.  Makes perfect sense as these poses are extremely relaxing.  And even if you have never done yoga before, you can do these.  

While in each pose, known as Asanas,  focus on your breathing.  Breath control in yoga is called pranayama.  Ujjayi pranayama is the most common breathing in yoga and is done my inhaling and exhaling through your nose.  You can benefit by spending as little as 3 minutes in each pose.  I like to do 5 minutes. 

This is called Easy Pose.  Sukhasana in Sanskrit.  Simply sit with legs crossed.  If this is uncomfortable for you try a yoga block or folded towel under your bottom.  Practice your Ujjayi breathing here.  In through the nose, out through the nose.
This is Supported Childs Pose.  I call this the yummy pose because it's so relaxing.  If you don't have a bolster you can use a folded up blanket or a very firm billow.  Child's pose is called Balasana. 
This is Seated Supported Forward Fold.  And that's exactly what it is, bend forward using the block or a pillow to rest your head.  Forward fold in Sanskrit is called Paschimottanasana, sounded out it's (Pah-shee-moh-tun-ahs-uh-nuh).  I know, it's a mouth full, there will be a quiz, haha. 

Supported Bridge Pose.  Here, place the block or rolled up towel right below your lower back.  Bridge Pose is called Setu Bandah Sarvangasana.
Downward Facing Dog.  Even if you're a stranger to yoga you've probably heard of this pose.  It's one of yoga's most recognized poses.  In Sanskrit it's called Adho Mukha Svanasana.  Take 5 -8 deep breaths here.

Have a great week, get your blood pressure checked, and don't forget to breathe!