How Yoga Helps
A consistent Yoga practice can help slow the progression of Parkinson’s and reduce the impact of symptoms while offering strategies to manage them. 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.
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.
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 (2103).
- 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).
YOGA & PARKINSON'S: PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS
Teaching Yoga for PD for more than a decade 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.
Tom K.Theresa is an excellent Yoga instructor; everything she does is tied to Parkinson's. Her workouts are specifically designed to keep you flexible and to build up the muscles that are effected by the disease. Personally it is the most important thing I do for myself.
As I was not a previous yoga practitioner before my PD diagnosis, Theresa's class has been such a gift. I feel comfortable in her presence and I feel I have learned as much if not more from her than my doctor about how PD affects the body. I always feel better after each class, and use many of the PD poses the rest of the week. An unexpected bonus has been being in the company of other PD folk. The new studio is beautiful.
Theresa has me strengthening my core and using movement to stretch muscles in very safe routines that she has developed just for people with Parkinson’s.