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Yoga For Parkinson’s Disease

What Happens In Parkinsons Disease

Functional Yoga for People with Parkinson√Ęs Disease

Parkinsons is a disorder of the Central Nervous System, which causes progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain, leading to altered motor movements.

Your movement is controlled by your nervous system, which functions due to the electrical transmission between nerve cells. These electrical transmissions take place by the exchange of neurotransmitters between two nerve cells, or neurons.

Different neurotransmitters carry different messages. One such neurotransmitter is dopamine. Dopamine is responsible mostly for reward-motivated behavior, which includes a whole range of executive and motor functions.

In Parkinsons disease the nerve cells that produce dopamine, die progressively. And unfortunately, the existing number of these cells are already pretty low. The human brain has only, around 400,000 dopamine-producing neurons.

Yoga cannot help you stop the degeneration of neurons, but it can surely help you slow down the process and manage the symptoms of PD. As a matter of fact, that is precisely what any other traditional medication or therapies attempt.

Also Check: How Does A Doctor Diagnose Parkinsons Disease

What Parkinsons Disease Treatment Options Are Right For You

All of the above Parkinsons disease treatment options should be discussed with your doctor before implementation. Most of the treatments listed above your doctor will likely prescribe for you with exceptions for DBS, which will be prescribed for specific situations. Whatever Parkinsons treatment your doctor prescribes you it is important to take their advice and be consistent with your treatment plan.

Parkinsons symptoms can be managed and there is no reason you cant live a normal and fulfilling life if you stick to your Parkinsons disease treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.

Physical Benefits Of Yoga And Exercise

Exercises neuroprotective benefit on the brain is a current area of research study. Exercise is believed to slow aging at the cellular level and produce regenerative effects on the brain. Cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the development of growth factors in the brain that encourage the growth of new neurons and synapses.

Because yoga focuses participants on the rhythmic pattern of their breath it can improve respiration and even lower blood pressure.

Yoga therapy has been shown to visibly reduce tremors and improve the steadiness of an individuals gait. Other physical benefits of yoga include: increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, reduced levels of stress hormones, and improved cardio and circulatory health.

Read Also: How Long Does Someone Live With Parkinson’s Disease

When Did You First Learn About The Benefits Of Yoga For Parkinsons Disease Symptoms

I have culturally been interested in Ayurveda, a holistic medicine system, for a long time. As a child, I grew up with many practices that were in this system of health even though my mother is a western trained family medicine doctor. Yoga fits into this system, which has been around for thousands of years and focuses on thinking about a person or patient in a holistic way. After the birth of my first child, I gravitated toward yoga to help my own sense of balance and wellbeing.

There are a lot of folks doing yoga here in California, US, and I see the benefits in my patients as well. As a physician who works largely with men who are veterans, it always amazes me to see the most seemingly unlikely patients thrive with yoga. A Latinx plumber in my practice really enjoyed yoga and looked better, both physically and mentally, after diving into his practice which he started after he was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease.

Dr Indu Subramanian has practiced yoga for two decades.

Saturday 11th April 2020

Yoga for Parkinson

Parkinsons greatly impacts the way a person moves because of dysfunction within the basal ganglia, the area within the brain affecting motor control and movement. How you move greatly impacts your quality of life and those around you.

Yoga can help those with Parkinsons. Yoga may improve functional mobility, stability, balance, coordination, posture, strength, range of movement, confidence and reduce fear of falling. Yoga may also help with stress and anxiety, sleep and self-efficacy. Living with Parkinsons can be a difficult and sometimes lonely time. Attending a yoga class is a terrific way of promoting social participation and inclusion.

Yoga means union or harmony and is a practice that integrates breathing, stretching, balance and strength for a holistic exercise.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years, however, has only recently become more accepted as a complementary treatment modality for people with Parkinsons other neurological conditions.

Relaxation is a key focus in a typical yoga class for Parkinsons. There are also many great standing, seated and lying down poses to try. You dont need to be able to touch your toes, put your legs behind your head or have any previous experience. A good teacher familiar with neurological conditions like Parkinsons will be able to modify yoga poses for you, and tailor a specific yoga program suited to your capabilities whilst maintaining a safe and fun environment.

Also Check: What Is The Latest Medicine For Parkinson

Dbs And Other Parkinsons Surgeries

Deep Brain Stimulation , a well-known surgery for Parkinsons, helps manage some of the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Without getting too technical, you can think of it like a pacemaker for the brain. The nerves in your brain communicate with each other through electrical impulses. Some of these brain electrical circuits are disrupted by Parkinsons they start to fire electrical impulses to each other at abnormal rhythms, causing miscommunication. During the DBS procedure, a neurosurgeon will insert very thin electrical wires into the brain that introduce electrical currents that reset brain circuits, similar to the way a heart pacemaker ensures that your heart beats at a healthier rhythm. Once the DBS is implanted, a neurologist will typically work with you over a series of visits to program the device to optimize control of your symptoms. This Parkinsons treatment is not right for everyone and should be discussed with your doctor. If you would like to learn more about DBS you can watch a video giving an overview of the subject by .

Yoga Therapy For Parkinsons Management Common Overview

Diet plays a crucial role few common pointers that help-

  • Eat on time. Chew food properly.
  • Sattvic home-cooked meals
  • Increase the intake of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Include high-fibre foods such as vegetables, cooked peas and beans , whole-grain foods, cereals, rice, and fresh fruit in your diet. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Keep the body well hydrated.
  • Avoid processed and refined foods. Try to avoid nerve stimulants such as tea, coffee, alcohol, dark chocolate.
  • Yoga Pranayama are vitally important as they improve the breathing capacities and help to focus. They bring about mental and stability. The neuromuscular system is immensely benefited, and motor functions are developed. Yogendra Pranayamas are ideally suited and recommended for tackling these symptoms of Parkinsons. Yogendra Pranayama I, II, III and IV should be regularly practised.

    Watch videos for details:

    Yogendra Asanas recommended are Talasana Yastikasana Parvatasana Suptvakrasana and Hastapadangustasana. These are simple yet very effective yoga poses to improve the neuromuscular coordination and improve range of motion.

    Kriyas help in internal cleansing and keep the body free of toxins. Jalaneti and Kapalbhati keep the sinuses clean, and you feel light and relaxed.

    For emotional balance The Yoga Institute pioneered techniques such as Anitya Bhavana& Reflection help improve the memory and Nispandbhava provide emotional calm.

    Also Check: Can You Reverse Parkinson Disease

    Breathing: How Yoga Can Help Control Parkinsons Tremors

    When it comes down to it, yoga requires one thing only. Breath. If youre reading this, odds are that youre breathing. So, yes, you, too, can do yoga.

    Yoga practice, whether at home or in a class, starts with the breath. One area we can still control in our dopamine-challenged lives lies in our breathing. According to the Parkinsons Research Foundation , Controlling your breath helps in moments of panic such as feet sticking to the floor when walking.

    We can choose to take a deep breath. We can use the breath as a tool to lead us inside and notice what might be going on in there. The PRF adds that, In this form of yoga, the mind is always watchful. When we notice stress from the vantage point of an inner witness, our response can shift from the fear or anxiety of stumbling to choosing to take a deep breath and relax.

    Yoga Reduces Tremors And Rigidity

    Yoga Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

    Tremors are the most prominent symptoms in Parkinsons, especially the pill-rolling tremors of the hands. And equally prominent are the limb rigidity the cogwheel rigidity of your hands and the lead-pipe rigidity of your legs.

    There are neurons in your brain that try to counter the effects of dopamine. However, in a healthy brain, a balance is always maintained with the right levels of dopamine. Naturally, in Parkinsons when this balance is disrupted, it causes tremors and rigidity.

    Yoga poses and pranayama will stimulate different parts of your CNS to have an aggregate effect of increased dopamine levels. The increased dopamine levels will restore the balance, reducing the degree and frequency of tremors and rigidity in Parkinsons Disease.

    Also Check: Does An Mri Show Parkinson’s Disease

    Movements Of The Spine

    Seated cat/cow Place your hands on your knees and inhale as your chest and abdomen move forward exhale as you dome the spine and contract the belly area. Continue to alternate for two to three minutes.

    Core twists with hands on shoulders Inhale center and exhale as you revolve your chest to each side. Continue until the strong muscles in the sides of your waist feel warm and awake.

    Lateral movement of the spine Release one hand down and extend your top arm as you turn your face down toward the lower shoulder, taking three long, deep breaths. Make sure you come up to center slowly, on an inhalation. Repeat on the other side.

    Elbow kayaks Interlace your fingers behind your head, pressing your head lightly into your hands paddle” your elbows forward and back, one at a time, as though you are kayaking and your elbows are your oars, enjoying a deep side-body opening and smoother mobility in the shoulders as you move.

    Leg Swings If you are standing, you will swing one leg forward and back, catching and then holding under the knee for three breaths. Use a support if needed for balance. Do three rounds on each side.

    If you are sitting in a chair, try apanasana, alternate squeezing knees into the abdomen on an exhalation. Repeat three times.

    Seated or standing dancing warrior

    Finally, rotate your body to face forward in a chair-supported goddess pose, then repeat this flow on the second side.

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    Yoga For Parkinsons Disease Teacher Training Self

    Welcome to Yoga for Parkinsons Online Teacher Training

    Are you interested in welcoming people with Parkinsons Disease into your group or private practice? Do you have a client with PD?

    This self-paced online course provides basic training for yoga teachers, therapists and other healthcare professionals who are eager to broaden their practices to work with clients and others with Parkinsons Disease. It is intended for those with knowledge of yogaits poses and how they improve mind, body and well-being.

    This is a shortened version of my full certification course, which includes personal guidance and more extensive training.

    • Parkinsons Disease and its symptoms.
    • The science of yogas benefits for those with Parkinsons.
    • How to modify and adapt your group and private classes.
    • How to develop and market your own PD-focused practice.

    If you have Parkinsons Disease, you may benefit from the knowledge shared here. However, I highly recommend that you practice under the guidance of a certified yoga therapist. You can find a certified Yoga for Parkinsons teacher here.

    Upon enrollment, youll receive an email with logon information that provides lifetime access to the information and lessons on this site.


    Theresa Conroy is a Certified Yoga Therapist and a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider. She has worked closely with healthcare professionals and The Parkinsons Council for more than a decade to develop and fine-tune her Yoga for PD classes.

    Read Also: Percentage Of Population With Parkinson’s Disease

    Yoga Poses For Parkinsons

    Yoga stays with the breath through asanas, or poses. When moving, for example, into virabhadrasana any one of the warrior poses our breath leads the motion. Our awareness is right there, too. The inhale invites us in with it as muscles release, joints open. The exhale lets us settle in further. It doesnt matter if your version of a warrior resembles a knight or a pawn. Feel the flow, watch the rigidity loosen, notice both the softening and the strengthening. In a study on yoga and Parkinsons at Kansas University Medical Center, Yvonne Searles, PT, PhD, said, I think I was most amazed by the visible reduction in tremoring and improvement in the steadiness of gait immediately following the yoga sessions.

    If your mind wont follow your breath inside because its too busy focusing on staying upright or listening to a screaming muscle spasm, consider changing classes, teachers, videos or routines. I often open a class with a reminder that when we feel our breath is strained, our body is, too. Remember, we can control our breath. Notice when the strain happens and bring yourself back to where your mind can join your breath.

    I couldnt do that pose. But I can do others, and I can do yoga. I can benefit from all it offers. You can, too.

    This April , Im reaching out to raise awareness of the benefits of yoga practice for those living with this disease. Im also joining APDA in their efforts to Find the Cure.

    All Parkinsons Disease Treatment Options To Help You Manage Your Pd

    An Infographic about the benefits of yoga for people with Parkinson

    November 1, 2022 by Zach Galati

    What are the treatment options for Parkinsons disease? Parkinsons disease treatment options range from exercise and lifestyle changes to medications and medical procedures. Below are all of the different Parkinsons disease treatments to discuss with your Movement Disorder Specialist.

    Parkinsons Disease Treatment Options:

    Also Check: What Does Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease Mean

    Why Choose Yoga For Parkinsons

    Practicing yoga daily helps the patient who has Parkinsons disease in the following ways-

    • Reduces tremors and bradykinesia which are symptoms of the disease
    • In this disease, the patient finds difficult to move or walk, and the muscle becomes stiff, but practicing yoga loosens the muscles and improves mobility and helps in reducing the effect of disease gradually.

    How Can People With Parkinsons Add Yoga Into Their Exercise Regime

    Yoga can be incorporated a few days a week, with other more cardio-heavy regimens such as running, fast walking or cycling. It can be very restorative for muscles on days in between heavier cardio workouts.

    There are many styles that may benefit people with Parkinsons disease. Hatha yoga and Iyengar yoga, which uses a lot of props and modifications, are good places to start. For people interested in starting yoga, I recommend Mind Body Solutions with Matthew Sanford.

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    Physical Mental Benefits Of Yoga And Meditation Include Mood Memory Sleep

    Yoga is credited with providing a variety of physical and mental benefits, such as increased flexibility and stability and reduced stress, improved mood, and better sleep. But how can yoga help Parkinsons disease patients and individuals with other neurodegenerative diseases?

    The American Parkinson Disease Association recommends yoga therapy as a means to strengthen muscle, improve posture and stability, loosen tight, painful muscles and relieve muscle spasms.

    Benefits of yoga and meditation to an individuals mental and cognitive functions have been explored in a number of recent scientific studies. Research suggests meditation practice can change brain structure and function in areas of the brain impacted by PD and contribute to improved memory, cognition and mood. The hope is that incorporating meditation practices can help support and maintain an individuals brain function for as long as possible as the neurodegenerative disease progresses.

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    Yoga Visibly Reduces Tremors And Improves The Steadiness Of Gait

    Parkinson’s Disease Exercises: Warrior Sculpt Yoga

    According to the National Institutes of Health, which evaluates the use of complementary and alternative medicine every five years as part of its National Health Interview Survey , yoga is among the leading alternative therapies in the United States. Thankfully, skiing appeared nowhere on that list. I could never ski, despite growing up in Buffalos notoriously snowy winters. In fact, I never really understood skiing, to venture downhill seemed a ridiculous idea paying to swoosh, slip, oof. Now, living with Parkinsons, why hit the slopes when I can experience a tumble on dry land? No, I cant ski.

    I can, on the other hand, practice yoga. It doesnt require any special equipment, clothing or weather. The yoga mat is a handy accessory, but its not necessary. Warm sunshine is a pleasant bonus, but the weather plays no role. Yoga pants? Yoga studio? Yoga music? All are add-ons. Ive practiced yoga on airplanes, at the kitchen counter, on the back deck in my pajamas while listening to robins sing.

    Also Check: Does Weed Help With Parkinson’s

    What Types Of Exercise Can Help Manage Parkinsons Disease

    There are several types of exercises you can do to manage Parkinsons disease. You can create a varied routine based on your specific concerns, fitness level, and overall health.

    Aim to do at least a few minutes of movement each day. Include exercises that improve cardiovascular health, flexibility, and strength. If you change up your exercises every week. your body can learn new ways to move.

    There are a few different types of exercise that may be especially helpful to those with Parkinsons, including:

    • physical and occupational therapy

    How Does Yoga Help People With Parkinsons Disease

    Yoga can have tremendous effects on the mind and body. It is thought to be very powerful for the autonomic nervous system, which can help manage stress. The stretches and poses are helpful for posture, which makes yoga good for ageing populations in general. For anyone who is spending too much time on Zoom, getting up and doing some simple yoga poses to break up the sedentary day can be very therapeutic.

    Yoga may help with mood, especially anxiety and depression, and sleep which are all non-motor symptoms of Parkinsons. Meditation may help cognition, and breathwork may help non-motor problems as well as autonomic nervous system issues that are exacerbated in Parkinsons disease.

    The poses may improve balance, stretch tight body parts and allow for better range of motion, while the flow between poses is thought to improve cardiovascular fitness. Poses are modifiable, so the practitioner can increase or decrease the complexity of the pose to adapt to changing issues in the body day-to-day or year-to-year.

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