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How Yoga Helps Alzheimer’s Disease Patients Live a Better Life

Will

Posted on Sep 23, 2021

There are a lot of things in this world that are incurable. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is one of them. 

If you’ve ever known someone with this horrible disease, you’ll understand how hard it is to sit by and watch as that person’s mental, physical, and emotional health decline. After all, there is only so much anyone can do to help, right?

Caregivers also suffer tremendously, even medical staff caregivers who are trained to work with Alzheimer’s patients. 

Here at My Yoga Teacher, we believe yoga helps everyone.

If you’ve read other articles of ours, you’ve probably heard that before. That’s because it’s true. 

Yoga for Alzheimer’s disease patients is a perfect way to keep their mind active. It helps keep their body from deteriorating so rapidly, and it improves their quality of life.

We’re sure some of our MYT members have experience with someone in their life having this horrible disease. 

So we wanted to talk about how yoga can help!

Meditation for Alzheimer’s patients

Meditation has a reputation for improving cognitive function in people from all walks of life. Science says so.

But how does meditation help Alzheimer’s patients when the very things they struggle with – memory and focus – are such an integral part of most meditative practices?

First and foremost, we should mention that, according to research, your lifestyle and stress levels are the two biggest contributing factors of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also a proven fact that meditation helps lower stress levels and improve lifestyle.

Alzheimer’s patients benefit from meditation because it:

  1. Reduces their stress levels. Alzheimer’s patients get very stressed at different stages of their disease progression. Also, caregivers’ stress impacts both the caregiver and the patient. Meditation can be vital to helping with these issues!

  2. Reduces cortisol levels and inflammation, which is a result of high stress levels and causes other illnesses and disease in the body.

  3. Improves focus, concentration, and cognition. Meditation helps Alzheimer’s patients hold onto as much memory and brain function as they can for as long as they can.

  4. Increases blood flow to the brain, which helps general brain function and memory. Meditation also engages different parts of the brain, which helps it form new connections.

Many researchers have concluded that meditation for Alzheimer’s patients is proven to slow the progression of this terrible disease! Not only that, but the benefits of meditation for Alzheimer’s patients far exceed just helping them with their disease. It can drastically improve their life.

Benefits of Yoga for Alzheimer’s Patients

There are many different types of yoga classes for Alzheimer’s patients. That’s because almost all forms of yoga help restore cognitive function. Not just for these patients but for anyone who suffers from dementia, traumatic brain injury, or any other disease that affects the cognitive abilities of the brain.

We won’t go over specific yoga poses for dementia here, but we will talk about all the benefits of yoga for Alzheimer’s patients and some specific types of yoga that are best for them.

So, besides the fact that almost every yoga class ends (or should end) with a short or long meditation, meditation is an inclusive and integral part of the yoga practice itself.

Automatic bonus to practicing yoga, right?!

Here are some other ways yoga benefits Alzheimer’s patients:

  1. 1. Similar to meditation, yoga sequences help people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s make better connections due to improved neuroplasticity in the brain.
  2. Yoga helps Alzheimer’s patients combat and prevent the physical deterioration of their bodies that is a direct result of their disease, which helps them live longer, healthier, happier lives.
  3. Yoga is an activity that patients and caregivers can do together, reducing the stress of the caregiver and the patient. Plus, doing yoga together promotes bonding and trust between patient and caregiver.
  4. Yoga improves mood, awareness, focus, concentration, and generally gives an overall feeling of happiness. All benefits that Alzheimer’s patients specifically can use!

When we learn new skills, our brain’s ability to rebuild connections increases due to neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is, in layman's terms, the ability for the brain to rewire itself. Without this specific ability, the brain would be unable to develop from infancy through adulthood. 

Yoga and meditation may, in fact, be an integral part of reversing early onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. And we at My Yoga Teacher want you to have access to as much yoga and meditation as your heart desires. If you haven’t checked us out yet, get your 2-week free trial here and experience the huge variety of yoga classes offered on our platform, taught by expert and highly experienced yoga teachers from the birthplace of yoga, India!

In the meantime, let’s explore some specific types of yoga most helpful for Alzheimer’s patients.

Best Types of Yoga for Alzheimer’s Patients

While My Yoga Teacher doesn’t offer a yoga class for Alzheimer’s patients yet, we do offer several other yoga classes that fit the bill! As a matter of fact, these types of yoga classes are perfect for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, seniors, and people who have problems in their knees and hips.

Let’s take a look!

Chair Yoga

Chair yoga is perfect for people who have dementia, problems with stability, arthritis, or injuries. If you’re interested in an in-depth look at how chair yoga can benefit you or a loved one, check out an article one of our instructors wrote about it! You can find Chair Yoga: Accessible, Gentle, and Great for Every Body here!

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a restorative, passive form of yoga that includes holding poses and stretches for longer periods of time. It’s a slow, meditative practice well suited for people with Alzheimer’s dementia, injuries, older athletes, or people who generally have a lot of stiffness.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is what most people think of when they think of yoga. How fast each class goes is up to the instructor, but you will find that most hatha yoga classes are active, but fairly slow paced. Hatha yoga is not considered a restorative form of yoga but is great for seniors who are still active and somewhat physically fit.

There are just so many ways yoga and meditation benefit Alzheimer’s patients! Better mood, better sleep, improved memory, awareness, balance, physical health. 

Yoga provides this population of people in particular with a better quality of life.

While scientists haven’t found a way yet to cure this terrible disease, we can at least make life easier for those who have it by introducing them to yoga and meditation and encouraging them to begin or continue a regular yoga practice!

We’d love to see you or your loved one on the mat! Our instructors truly do care about the wellbeing of their students. They aren’t just instructors. They’re friends. We encourage you to grab your 2-week free trial of My Yoga Teacher here and see for yourself!

Namaste.

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