Yoga for a healthier brain

Yoga for a healthier brain

Yoga is a proven way to improve the quality of life in patients with neurological disorders.

Yoga is an ancient Indian, non-religious approach to health promotion. It consists of the practice of specific posture (asana), regulated breathing (Pranayama), and meditation The practice of yoga integrates the physical, mental, and spiritual components of an individual in order to improve health and well-being. Studies show that yoga may influence cognitive processes during the reactivity stage of the stress process given that yoga practice is associated with awareness of bodily experiences and sensation. Yoga  In recent times yoga has been promoted as an exercise in the prevention of many such conditions. This blog aims to explain the beneficial effects of yoga on disorders related to the brain (Neurological disorders). The important disorders in which Yoga has been found to be effective are as follows:

Stroke

A normal 8-week (twice per week) yoga-based routine improves balance, fear of falling, pain, range of motion of neck and hip, hand and wrist strength, and 6-min walk scores in patients with the chronic stroke while a 10-week practice of yoga has been reported improvements in terms of strength and range of movement; improved sense of calmness.

Parkinson’s diseases

Yoga is effective in improving various physical functions such as stability, rigidity, muscle strength, power as well as improved problems of decreased movement and tremors.

Multiple sclerosis

Yoga is effective in improving problems faced by patients suffering from this disease like fatigue, speed and endurance, ambulatory function, body awareness, spatiotemporal gait parameters, balance, muscle relaxation, muscle tone, and muscle strength, bladder function, breathing function, lung capacity, lower blood pressure, depression, anxiety, energy level, mental status, mood status, stress, confidence, social functioning/interaction, motivation, shifts in attitude toward life, activities of daily living in patients with MS.

Epilepsy

In patients with epilepsy have been reported to produce a reduction in perceived seizure, seizure scores, and seizure frequency. Sahaj yoga in particular has been shown to produce improvement by reducing stress levels.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

20 min practice of yoga breathing (10 min of Om Chanting followed by 10 min of Thirumoolar Pranayama) showed a marked increase in NGF (nerve growth factor)  levels, an effect that is achieved with great difficulty with pharmaceutical agents and require invasive techniques at times.

Yoga breathing improves the quality of life in Alzheimer’s

Dementia

Twelve-week (thrice a week) practice of silver yoga has shown to produce significant improvement both in physical and mental health in elders with dementia. More scientific evidence shows beneficial effects in functional changes in elders with mild to moderate dementia. Moreover, the duration of the practice was accompanied by an increase in telomerase (cellular enzyme that plays a crucial role in cell aging) activity suggesting improvement in stress-induced cellular aging.

Headache

In areas. A 12-week practice of yoga has shown to produce a significant decrease in the plasma level of VCAM (vascular adhesion molecule, indicates vascular injury) and therefore can be viewed as an effective treatment for migraine and an effective way of improving vascular functions in migraine patients whereas a 3-month practice of yoga has reported producing a significant reduction in migraine headache frequency and its associated clinical features in patients with migraine without aura.

In chronic tension-type headache which is associated with significant hyperactivity of temporalis muscle, the practice of yoga along with conventional medicine has shown to be effective in reducing subjective pain score and electromyogram amplitude of temporalis muscles in patients with chronic tension-type headache who had significant over activity of temporalis muscles.

Not surprisingly, even in healthy individuals, yoga has been shown to improve positive mental health which makes it a pre-emptive measure to prevent mental health disorders.

Limits of yoga therapy

Every form of therapy has some demerits and yoga is no exception. For example,  studies report that Sirsasana (headstand posture) had some adverse effects in some patients with high intraocular pressure or glaucoma and in a patient with high blood pressure. Practicing yoga in uncomfortably hot ambient temperatures also led to a further increase in body temperature in few patients leading to heatstroke.

Author : Dr. Sakshi


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