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How Practicing Yoga Can Offset Neurodegenerative Diseases

How Practicing Yoga Can Offset Neurodegenerative Diseases

Practicing yoga as a way to offset chronic disease is gaining popularity because of the plethora of research proving it to be effective. When it comes to yoga and chronic disease, research has shown that regular practice can help to improve mental illness, heart health, chronic pain conditions, lung health, bone health, and more. While many people see yoga as just another form of exercise, those who practice it regularly are living proof that it does more than just get your body moving.

In recent years, researchers have explored yoga as a way to combat neurodegenerative diseases and countless studies have found that it can be an effective therapeutic option for people suffering from conditions such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and Parkinson’s disease. Let’s dive into exactly how practicing yoga can offset neurodegenerative diseases.

What are neurodegenerative diseases?

In the simplest terms, neurodegenerative disease are conditions or disorders that affect the brain and/or the spinal cord. When a person experiences a neurodegenerative disease, they will often experience problems with memory, thinking, movement and other cognitive abilities due to a steady and progressive loss of brain cells. These conditions can be brought on because of another medical condition such as a tumor, stroke, or alcoholism. However, they can also be caused by genetics, toxins, chemicals, and viruses.

Some of the most well-known neurodegenerative diseases include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Friedreich ataxia
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Lewy body disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia

In many cases, neurodegenerative diseases are life-threatening or serious, and may decrease a person’s overall quality of life.


Image by Jose Vazquez on Unsplash: What are the best yoga poses for neurological disorders?


Can you cure neurological disorders?

Unlike other types of chronic illnesses, neurological disorders tend to be much less thoroughly understood. A disease such as cancer doesn’t typically affect a person’s brain or the essence of who they are as a person, and treatment options are often straightforward. Neurodegenerative disorders, on the other hand, take away many of the things that make a person who they are, such as their memory and cognitive abilities. And because of the complexity of the brain and nervous system, treating diseases that cause neurodegeneration is not an easy thing to do.

Curing them is even more difficult, and for the most part, there is no cure for neurodegeneration. There are only treatment and therapy options designed to either slow the progression of the illness or improve the person’s quality of life while they live with the disease. That isn’t to say that people with neurodegenerative diseases cannot live a fully functional life; it just means that there is no one cure that can completely restore a person to their pre-neurodegenerative disease state.

Neurodegenerative diseases and yoga

Research that dives into the connection between yoga and neurodegenerative diseases is currently being explored. Studies and clinical trials have found that yoga on its own isn’t a viable cure. However, it is an effective alternative form of medicine that can be beneficial for those with neurodegenerative diseases.

There are several reasons for this. One is the fact that there are various styles of yoga that people can practice. While one person may be better suited to practice ashtanga, another may find vinyasa to be more beneficial for their health. Another reason is that yoga poses often come with variations or modifications that can be used by people who cannot participate in the typical style of each pose. When it comes to neurodegenerative diseases, the most gentle styles of yoga are best, so variations and modifications to traditional poses can be very helpful.

Because of the vast options when it comes to practicing yoga, people with neurodegenerative diseases can benefit greatly when choosing the correct one.

What are the benefits of practicing yoga with a neurodegenerative disease?

Many neurological diseases greatly hinder a person’s mobility. Their balance, agility, and movement can be severely impacted, and doing yoga can help offset that. Studies have shown that when people with certain neurodegenerative disease practice yoga regularly, those aspects of movement are improved. The pain that comes with a lack of mobility can also be decreased with regular practice of the right type of yoga.

Neurodegenerative diseases have also been found to correlate with high rates of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Research shows that practicing yoga can help to lessen symptoms associated with mental illness in those with neurodegenerative diseases.

For people who do not have neurodegenerative disorders, research has also shown that practicing yoga regularly can help to reduce the risk of developing the brain and spinal cord disorders such as Alzheimer’s.


Image by Katee Lue on Unsplash: Can you do yoga for neurological problems?


Can yoga cure neurological disorders?

While there are many reasons why a person should practice yoga for neurological problems, it should be noted that it is not a cure for the onset or the worsening of neurological disorders. That being said, yoga is a powerful complimentary therapeutic option for those who have neurodegenerative disease, and can also be a helpful practice for those who want to reduce their risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease.

Those with mobility issues and other problems because of their neurodegenerative disorder should always speak to their doctor prior to finding the right type of yoga for them. Since there are many poses and styles to choose from, you have a great chance of finding one that works for you.

By practicing yoga before you develop a neurodegenerative disease or while you have one, you can help reduce your risk or improve your quality of life.

Featured image by Mor Shani on Unsplash

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