Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that affects nearly 1 million people in America. The cause is unknown. There is no cure.
Yet, medical experts and movement disorder specialists now recognize that yoga can ease many of the symptoms of the disease.
Indeed, I have watched a man with uncontrollable tremors settle into peaceful stillness in Savasana. I’ve helped a woman strengthen her gait enough to walk with ease down the aisle at her daughter’s wedding.
I’ve witnessed moments of enlightenment, glimpses of hope and an abundance of optimism.
If you have PD, keep reading for more info.
If you’re a yoga teacher or therapist, click below to see how you how to bring moments like this to your own therapeutic practice.
Do yoga right now, while you're in your chair!
Do you have Parkinson’s Disease or another mobility disorder? You can feel the benefits of yoga sitting in your chair! Practice along with this easy-to-learn 3-minute yoga exercise
Physical activity helps reduce the impact of PD...
… And a consistent yoga practice is a fun, effective form of exercise that helps manage symptoms.
Yoga can strengthen the mind-body relationship, improve balance, create strength and stability, loosen tight muscles, reduce anxiety and depression, and create fluidity of movement.
I offer private online sessions for people with Parkinson’s. As a yoga therapist, i am trained to assess your symptoms and provide the therapy that meets your unique needs.
Investigations into the impact of yoga on those with PD have shown the practice:
- Lessens symptoms associated with anxiety, depression and fatigue — Cornell University study (2005).
- Improves gait, function and balance — University of Virginia study (2007).
- Boosts mobility, balance, lower extremity function, mood, sense of well-being, reduces fear of falling, reduces loss of strength and flexibility, improves sleep — University of Victoria, BC, Canada study (2013).
- Improves steadiness of gait and reduces tremors— Kansas University Medical Center (2012).
- Increases dopamine release after Yoga Nidra — John F. Kennedy Institute in Denmark (2002).
One crucial impact of a yoga practice is its ability to use Mindfulness to help fill in gaps in movement and awareness.
This most effective therapeutic Yoga practices focus on helping you walk, turn, and work with more ease and confidence. The Yoga practice is relevant to your life only if it helps you manage tasks like filling a dishwasher, carrying a bag of groceries, gardening, putting on a jacket or getting up from a movie theater chair.
Yoga & Parkinson’s: Personal Observations
Teaching Yoga for more than 15 years has allowed me to witness the immediate and cumulative impact of the practice. I have watched gradual improvement in my students’ posture, movement and mood. One of the most stunning observations routinely happens during Savasana, the final relaxation at the end of class. During this rest, tremors – big and small – disappear.