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Importance of yoga in Neurological Disorders

Importance Of Yoga In Neurological Disorders.

Neurological disorders are conditions that affect the central or peripheral nervous system. These include epilepsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy (CP), motor neuron disease (MND) and Alzheimer’s disease.

A neurological disorder may be caused by genetics, illness or infection, brain or spinal cord trauma, or problems with blood supply to the brain. Many are lifelong conditions that have no cure but can be treated to improve symptoms and quality of life.

Importance of yoga in Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders are common in Victoria – they account for 13% of all deaths each year. In 2011-12 there were 15 665 hospitalisations for these types of conditions in Victoria . Stroke was the most common reason for hospitalisation followed by epilepsy. Neurological disorders are also the fourth leading cause of death in Victoria.

Types of intervention

There are many types of interventions that can help people cope with the effects of their condition and reduce secondary problems. These include:

Physical activity and exercise

In older adults, regular physical activity has been shown to help with mental wellbeing and skills such as walking and balance. This can be anything from walking around the block or using an exercise bike at home to working out in a gym with a personal trainer . Self-management strategies , including self-monitoring, goal setting , behaviour change techniques (e.g., relaxation) and coping strategies, work best when used together . Pain management – physical therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy , standardised auricular electrotherapy (electrodes attached to earlobes), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (T) machines, biofeedback training, yoga, pilates , tai chi and qigong can help reduce pain.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) 

This helps people develop coping strategies to address negative thoughts about their condition, feelings of anxiety or depression. Mindfulness-based stress reduction – it involves teaching deep breathing exercises and meditation in a supportive group setting.

Importance of yoga in Neurological Disorders

There is evidence that certain types of exercise can help neurological disorders. Yoga is one of the types of exercise that has been studied for this purpose. 

Meaning Of Yoga

Yoga is an ancient art form originating from India around 5000 years ago. The practice has spread worldwide since then and is now widely accepted as a beneficial therapy for all age groups . Scientific evidence suggests it may improve psychological well–being , quality of sleep , pain management and also aid weight loss . Research shows that practicing yoga can help decrease anxiety, depression, insomnia and even chronic pain  and may eventually even improve memory.

Types Of Yoga

Yoga practice has developed over thousands of years, with much cross-fertilization between various schools.

  Even today there are at least seven distinct styles or “schools” of yoga, each with its own philosophy and practices, but all generally devoted to physical fitness, mental well-being, and spiritual development.

Importance of yoga in Neurological Disorders

Below is a brief description of the seven main types of yoga, in alphabetical order.  we have also included several lesser-known types at the end which you may or may not have heard about.

  • Aerial Yoga

Aerial Yoga is taught in rooms where hammocks are suspended from the ceilings to create a safe and supportive place to practice yoga. Aerial Yoga can help build strength, increase mobility and flexibility, as well as aid in rehabilitative therapy. The hammock enhances balance by constantly shifting under you as you move through different poses, working your muscles in ways that would not be possible on solid ground.

  • Anusara 

A relatively new school of yoga, Anusara has been popularized by its founder, John Friend. He has written several books on the topic and his goal is to offer a system of yoga that is accessible and beneficial for all bodies and abilities. The philosophy draws upon five major schools: karma (action), bhakti (devotion), hatha (body), jnana (knowledge) and raja (meditation).

  • Bikram 
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Bikram yoga is performed in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees, with the humidity ranging between 40-50%. Do not attempt this type of yoga unless you are sure that you can handle it – it is very intense! The heat of the room is used to help loosen and stretch muscles more quickly, so that you can get a more intense workout in less time. Classes usually last 90 minutes.

  • Hatha

Hatha yoga is probably the most widely-practiced form of yoga today. Derived from traditional schools in India (which go back thousands of years), Hatha yoga is most often associated with physical postures or “asanas”.

  • Iyengar 

Iyengar yoga is named after B.K.S. Iyengar, who taught this system of yoga to the West in the 20 th century. The poses are held for a long period of time (5 minutes or more) and they utilize many props such as belts, blocks and chairs. This style emphasizes correct alignment and focuses on body awareness, with an emphasis on safety and comfort.

  • Jivamukti Yoga 

Jivamukti Yoga was founded by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984 as part of their theatre troupe (which itself had been started as a protest against the use of animals in entertainment). The school incorporates music, chanting, meditation and scripture into its classes.

  • Kundalini 

Kundalini yoga is considered to be the most powerful form because it uses breath work (pranayama) which stimulates several key energy centers in the body called “chakras”. This type of yoga also utilizes many mantra (sacred words) and mudra (gestures) in order to help cleanse these chakras and push spiritual growth even further.

Treatments for these conditions may also affect people’s social interactions, work potential, self-esteem and overall mental health. As a result they often will develop secondary problems such as anxiety , stress , fatigue , low mood , perceptual changes and cognitive impairment that can worsen symptoms . Up to 43% of people with Parkinson’s disease report depression. 

Importance Of Yoga In Modern Life

According to the Yoga Journal, yoga is “a practice that links breath, body and mind to bring about a happy and healthy lifestyle.”

In other words, yoga is an important part of maintaining a healthy life. Practicing yoga every day has many benefits for both your physical and mental health. Here are just six reasons why you should practice yoga everyday:

1) It’s good for your mental health.

Yoga helps individuals calm their minds, thus improving their moods. Doing so helps them feel better about themselves as well as lessen any negative thoughts they may have. These two factors also help improve self control and reduce stress levels because students find it easier to deal with their emotions without bottling them up or exploding in anger or frustration. No matter what your emotions are, yoga helps you deal with them without letting it take over your life or let them control how you act around others. Because of these factors, students are less likely to experience anxiety or depression because they better understand themselves and have easier access to their emotions.

2) It’s good for your physical health.

Yoga is a great workout that increases energy levels as well as improves both strength and flexibility. As mentioned in the previous section, yoga can help calm an individual down which then promotes healthy eating habits. Yoga also strengthens muscles by developing lean muscle tissue through using only one’s body weight for resistance against gravity instead of using other materials like free weights or machines-related equipment at the gym. This reduces the chance of injuries and allows students to become stronger. Yoga also improves flexibility because it is done at a slow, controlled pace allowing for deeper muscle stretching than other forms of exercises which only stretch the body’s muscles while active (like running) instead of while they’re at rest like yoga does.

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3) It’s helpful for your heart health.

The American Heart Association states that “yoga may be good for you,” because it can lower blood pressure and reduce stress-related behaviors such as smoking and drinking alcohol excessively. One study shows that yoga helps treat heart disease by increasing the activity of antioxidant enzymes within blood cells protecting them from damage caused by free radicals like pollution. Other studies show that practicing hatha yoga regularly could help prevent coronary artery disease and diabetes while some yoga positions like the cobra pose have been shown to effectively reduce symptoms of angina. Yoga also helps improve heart health by increasing blood supply and nutrients to the heart which improves its function and reduces chances of coronary artery disease.

4) It can help with your digestive health.

One study suggests that yoga helps treat irritable bowel syndrome (a common disorder that affects the large intestine) because it promotes relaxation, thus minimizing stress on the abdominal area where most symptoms occur.

Furthermore, not only does practicing yoga daily increase flexibility in joints which then increases mobility, but another study shows that it can reverse osteoporosis in women by increasing bone density because bone mass actually increased at the spine after one year among post-menopausal women who regularly practice yoga. Yoga can also help improve digestive health because it reduces constipation and problems like diverticulitis.

5) It helps with your weight loss goals.

Many people think yoga is simply a workout of bending and stretching-related activities, but there are different forms of yoga that include cardio workouts as well as strength training-activities which are similar to what many individuals do at the gym. This helps achieve weight loss because it exercises all parts of the body which increases metabolism, tones muscles, improves cardiovascular health promoting good cholesterol while reducing bad cholesterol thus resulting in overall healthier heart function, reduces stress levels through calming breathing techniques that keep reactivity down among cortisol levels (hormone responsible for stress), and keeps individuals active throughout the day by promoting physical activity through practices like vinyasa yoga which is similar to power yoga or Bikram that helps increase flexibility, strength, and stamina.

6) It has mental health benefits.

Yoga has been shown to help control emotional stress levels as well as manages mental health problems like insomnia and depression through breathing techniques (similar to meditation) which promote relaxation among other things. This gives students an opportunity to express themselves freely without judgement or persecution from others thus resulting in overall better mental health. Yoga also produces serotonin, a chemical within the body responsible for mood stability because it’s released during deep relaxation which improves sleep patterns (research suggests that at least 40 minutes of daily exercise can contribute to improved sleep quality).

Importance Of Yoga In Neurological Disorders

Yoga has many proven benefits for physical and mental well-being. It is widely considered to be an effective approach when it comes to managing stress, anxiety, depression and pain . Yoga has been shown to improve mood, decrease anxiety levels and stress , balance the autonomic nervous system and promote better sleep patterns. Furthermore, there are several studies which have investigated the effects of yoga on specific diseases such as MS, Alzheimer’s disease , Huntington’s disease  and multiple sclerosis . This section focuses on how yoga can benefit people with neurological disorders rather than being practiced by them.

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Effects of yoga on MS patients 

The physiological effects of practising classical yoga were observed in a study that was conducted on a group of patients with MS. During the study, a classical yoga session was performed and it was found that each participant experienced a total physiological effect as well as mental relaxation . In addition to this, participants reported improved sleep patterns , better moods and less fatigue as a result of their involvement in the therapy sessions. Furthermore, results from an MRI scan which were conducted before and after the yoga therapy period showed positive changes to white matter lesions and brain volume. As such, it can be inferred that practicing yoga has beneficial effects on people who suffer from MS.

Yoga’s effect on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

The benefits of yoga on people with dementia are also evident due to its ability to improve physical functioning through balance training and increased flexibility . In a study that was conducted on elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease , a behavioural approach involving yoga and meditation techniques were used to improve physical function, mood and behaviour. It was found that the group who received this behavioural intervention improved in all three aspects as compared to those who only received medical treatment.

In addition to this, improvements in cognitive functioning were also reported after practicing yoga which led researchers to believe that yoga can be beneficial for improving mental health for those with dementia. Furthermore, a brain imaging technique known as fMRI showed changes in areas of the brain associated with sensory integration , spatial orientation and emotional response among participants after they underwent a behavioural programme which involved both relaxation and balance training .

Yoga’s effect on Huntington’s disease

Another neurological disorder that has been known to benefit from yoga is Huntington’s disease . In a study that involved the use of yoga therapy, eight patients with HD were taught breathing exercises , postures and were encouraged to meditate for 30-45 minutes every day. The effects of practicing yoga on the patients was then measured via a fMRI technique which showed that there were improvements in brain functioning after regular practice. Specifically, it was found that the therapy led to increased activity in areas of the brain associated with motor planning  and working memory .

With many neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis  in addition to Alzheimer’s disease  and Huntington’s disease , results from studies have shown that yoga can be an effective way of managing symptoms. It has also been found that it can provide structural changes to the brain which leads scientists to believe that yoga might be able to prevent neurological diseases. Since each person is different, it is important to note that no two people will respond in the same manner when practicing yoga. Therefore, it would be advised for anyone who wishes to practice yoga on their own or with an instructor should monitor their progress and adjust accordingly .

There are several other benefits which make it important for people with neurological disorders:

  • Body posture straightening
  • Control of tremors
  • Improvement in breathing among neuromuscular disorders
  • Increase in body flexibility and coordination
  • Increased endurance, strength and stamina due to improved muscle tone.

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Praise Adughele

I am a practising physician and medical expert also a blogger and content creator

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