Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects our brain, leading to various symptoms and difficulties. One of the primary symptoms is memory loss, where the person forgets familiar people, places, and even events. Besides memory loss, there are other common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, which include:
- Difficulty in problem-solving and decision-making
- Difficulty with spatial awareness and coordination
- The trouble with daily activities, such as dressing and grooming
- Withdrawal from social activities and hobbies
- Sleep-related problems
- Anxiety and depression
The cause of these symptoms is due to damage to the brain cells caused by Alzheimer’s disease, where different parts of the brain cannot communicate correctly. Consequently, the brain cannot function correctly, leading to various symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but treatments are available to manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected by the disease.
The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that currently has no known cure. However, research suggests that yoga and meditation can play an important role in managing its symptoms and improving the patient’s quality of life.
Yoga and meditation can be effective for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia because they engage different parts of the brain through various practices, such as pranayama, asanas, chanting, and concentration. These practices stimulate neuroplasticity, which helps the brain create new connections.
Alzheimer’s patients should do gentle exercises, pranayama, and meditation, which may help improve memory. Yoga has also been found to reduce stress and inflammatory factors in people with Alzheimer’s, which may further improve their symptoms.
Meditation is a practice that is believed to improve certain aspects of cognition, such as increasing awareness, achieving emotional peace, and improving memory. There are various ways to meditate, but one of the easiest methods involves focusing on your breath. To practice this type of meditation, you should sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed and breathe deeply through your nose. Then, hold your breath for a few seconds before exhaling through your nose. Count up to ten on each exhalation, and repeat this process for 10-15 minutes. During the practice, your awareness should remain on your breath. If your mind begins to wander, bring your concentration back to your breath. This method is called breath counting meditation.
When it comes to this disease, it is recommended to perform gentle postures.
Padmasana (Lotus Pose): This posture is excellent for relieving stress and fatigue in the body. The more stress the body can eliminate, the better the brain can regenerate itself.
To perform this asana:
- Sit in a quiet place.
- Place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh.
- Keep the soles of your feet facing up.
- Join your index finger and thumb together while keeping the rest of your fingers spread downward.
- Take a deep breath and release.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend): This asana is great for stretching the spine and relieving tension in the lower back. It also helps to calm and de-stress the mind while increasing blood supply.
To perform this asana:
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
- Inhale and bend forward from your hips.
- Extend your arms and reach as far forward as you can.
- Exhale while coming back up.
Pranayama is known to be very effective in sharpening the mind, increasing memory, and reducing stress.
Nadi Suddhi pranayama:
Breathing in fresh air is beneficial for the brain as it provides an extra dose of oxygen. This pranayama lowers the heart rate, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves memory.
- Sit comfortably and exhale deeply.
- Close your right nostril with your thumb and breathe in through the left.
- Hold both nostrils closed for a few seconds before exhaling from the right nostril and closing the left.
- Repeat the process.
This pranayama produces a sound like sea water and is calming, while also stimulating the process of oxidation. It calms the nervous system, increases mental sensitivity, relieves insomnia, reduces memory loss, slows down the heart rate, and lowers blood pressure.
- Close your eyes and sit in any meditation posture like Padmasana.
- Keep your spine straight.
- Take long, deep breaths through your nose.
- Open your mouth and exhale slowly while making the sound of “H.”
- Repeat several times.
In conclusion, yoga and meditation practices have been found to have many benefits for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. These practices can help to improve cognitive function, reduce stress and inflammation, and increase emotional peace and memory.