The major benefit of practicing yoga is that it reduces stress which can be a highly worrying factor for Alzheimer’s patients. Stress can cause inflammation in the central nervous system and body, hormone disturbances, excessive stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, and compromise quality of life. However, with regular yoga practice, Alzheimer’s patients can reduce stress and inflammatory factors that can help them deal with the body’s stress response more effectively.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes the death of brain cells and shrinkage of the brain. Yoga can help stimulate the brain’s neuroplasticity or help it recover from injuries and form new connections by connecting its various parts, depending on the components of the practice, such as pranayama, asanas, chanting, visualization and concentration.
In fact, a study published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health concluded in 2018 that yoga may be an effective and safe intervention to enhance cognitive function in people aged 60 years or older. Other studies have also shown that yoga practices that include asanas, meditation practices and pranayama can lead to better attention and information processing abilities among people.
yoga asanas for alzheimer’s patients
Paschimottanasana is a seated forward bending posture that stretches the hamstrings and back muscles by bending the upper body forward over the legs. The mudra offers a lot of benefits especially for people suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. One of its biggest health benefits is that it calms the body and calms the mind. It also helps in proper blood circulation thereby relaxing the mind and reducing insomnia, depression and anxiety.
This is the best condition for blood circulation in the digestive organs, and it helps them to function effectively. Sitting in Vajrasana for long periods of time can have emotional and spiritual benefits and can help stabilize the mind. It also helps in bringing the body and mind into a meditative state. Regular practice of this mudra helps in the prevention and treatment of psychological disorders, hypertension and stress.
Since Vrikshasana is primarily a balancing pose, it helps in improving balance, both physically and emotionally. When practiced regularly, it creates a sense of calm and balance. Vrikshasana creates a sense of balance within the body apart from physical benefits such as hip and leg strengthening. This also translates into building mental wellbeing, focus and concentration. Apart from this, it also helps in stabilizing the nervous system, making it function optimally. Apart from its properties of enabling mental performance, this mudra is also good for self-esteem and keeping depression and mood swings at bay.
In Ujjayi Pranayama, practitioners contract the glottis and breathe through the throat. It leads to subtle mental states and can be practiced in conjunction with bandha and meditation. It calms the nervous system, calms the mind and increases mental sensitivity. It relieves insomnia, lowers blood pressure and slows down the heart rate. It is a calming pranayama, but it also has a heating effect, which stimulates the process of oxidation.
Benefits of Meditation on Alzheimer’s
The ancient practice of meditation has been shown to improve memory and reduce cognitive decline. For example, people with mild cognitive impairment who practiced meditation demonstrated less atrophy in the hippocampus than those who did not practice meditation. a study published in Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine In 2017, it was found that yoga practice that includes asanas, breathing and meditation leads to better attention and information processing abilities.
Additionally, caregivers who practice meditation and yoga are less stressed and in a better position to provide optimal care for people with Alzheimer’s.
Yoga, meditation and pranayama can bring much-needed and valuable gifts to people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The exercises can not only provide relief from stress but can reduce cognitive decline, lead to better memory and less depression as well as calm over-stimulation. However, all these techniques should be practiced under the guidance of an expert because if practiced incorrectly, it can seriously harm the practitioner.