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Yoga To Prevent Alzheimer’s

Yoga And Dementia Closing Remarks

Yoga and Meditation may help prevent dementia

Research around the impact of yoga on dementia is still inconclusive and limited to some degree.

More studies and clinical trials need to be conducted in regards to yoga and dementia to give a clearer picture of how yoga helps.

Note that a person who has dementia must consult their doctor before trying out any yoga therapy to be on the safe side.

Yoga In Healthcare: The Effect Of Yoga On Alzheimers

Home> Blog> Yoga In Healthcare: The Effect of Yoga on Alzheimers


Clarity within the Haze: The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Alzheimers and Other Dementias.

Alzheimers is a disease that causes dementia. It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about two-thirds of cases in older people. Currently around 850,000 people in the UK are affected by dementia. The majority of people who develop the disease are over the age of 65. Dementia can affect how people feel, act and function. It can also affect their physical health.

Symptoms usually include the gradual loss of memory and communication skills, and a decline in the ability to think and reason clearly. People may be less able to carry out ordinary daily activities and may need support for everyday tasks.

The benefits of yoga and meditation for Alzheimers and dementia are multiple and far-reaching. Whilst there is no cure for Alzheimers, research suggests that yoga and meditation may play a role in prevention and improve symptoms and quality of life for patients and their caregivers.

In 2014, the first study to suggest that memory loss may be reversed was conducted by Dr. Dale Bredesen of the UCLA and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. In this small, novel study, nine out of the ten participants displayed subjective and objective improvement in their memories within three to six months of participating in a 36-point therapeutic program, which included diet changes and exercise.


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Yoga For Brain Longevity

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ARPF CEO Kirti Khalsa presented Yoga for Brain Longevity at a virtual caregiver wellness retreat last October. Caregiver Wellness Retreat for Caregivers of Alzheimers & Other Dementias offers techniques to reduce stress, increase patience, and create an at-home self-care practice for families and professional caregivers. Over 300 people registered to participate in the presentations.

Founder Melissa Smith-Wilkinson created the Instant All Access course to share practical personal wellness and stress-relieving tools that become key strategies in building skills to help people thrive in any situation. She believes that self-care, as the caregiver, is essential to physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Kirtis presentation was on the neuroscience of yoga. She demonstrated three specific techniques to improve brain power for better memory, concentration, and overall resilience. Melissa said, Kirtis segment on yoga and brain health was essential to our weekend. The simplicity of the exercises and the calm which they bring is a testament to how powerful these soothing practices are. And, as a caregiver, to have tools that are easy to do during the course of a busy and stressful day is priceless.


One of the movements Kirti presented Self-Nurturing Break is a simple technique to reduce stress in your eyes. We are excited to offer a F*R*E*E handout that explains this exercise.

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Improving Memory With Yoga And Meditation Practice

In patients who have concerns with memory loss and some cognitive impairment but dont yet have Alzheimers disease, practices like yoga and meditation could be more beneficial in preventing cognitive decline, Lavretsky adds. In the 7 Amazing Brain Benefits of Meditation, writer Amanda Mascarelli reported that Wake Forest neurologist Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, and her colleagues found in a 2013 pilot study that adults with mild cognitive impairment who practiced mindfulness meditation showed less atrophy in the hippocampus than those who didnt. Their research also found meditators, compared with nonmeditators, had greater neural connectivity in the default mode network, an area of the brain involved in activities like daydreaming and thinking about the past and the future.

See also The Big Brain Benefits of Meditation

According To Swami Ramdev Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s Diseases Can Be Easily Overcome By Yoga Regularly Doing Some Yoga Asanas And Pranayamas Can Sharpen The Mind

Senior citizen yoga

Alzheimer’s disease usually occurs after the age of 70, but due to poor lifestyle and stress, people below the age of 40 are also falling victim to this disease. India ranks third when it comes to people suffering from Alzheimer’s. Women are more susceptible to falling victim to Alzheimer’s than men. 7 out of 10 women suffer from Alzheimer’s. Anger, irritability and gradually forgetting about small things daily are the initial symptoms of the disease. If you identify these symptoms at the correct time and practice yoga, then you will be able to eliminate this disease from the root.


Many people suffer from Parkinson’s disease as well. Just like Alzheimer’s, it is a disease in which part of the brain is damaged over many years. According to Swami Ramdev, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases can be easily overcome by yoga. Regularly doing some yoga asanas and pranayamas can sharpen the mind. It also advises that children should do yoga right from childhood in order to keep the mind sharp and healthy.

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Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease

We studied and review the close connection between yoga and dementia. Its a great way of improving the lives of people with dementia.

While there is still no cure for dementia, research indicates that yoga plays a huge role in improving symptoms and the quality of life not only for people with the illness but their caregivers as well.

The primary components of yoga are postures which are series of movements that are designed to increase breathing, strength, and flexibility.


Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease

A person affected with Alzheimer’s disease shows many signs and symptoms of the disease which can be easily identified. A persons ability to perform Cognitive and behavioral functions gets highly damaged. Some common signs and symptoms of Alzheimers disease are:

  • Loss of memory- asking questions, again and again, forgetting events, meetings, the name of people, etc.
  • Unable to gather and remember new information.
  • Unable to make and make proper judgments.
  • Loss of thinking ability and reasoning ability.
  • Difficulty in performing regular tasks.
  • Eyesight problems.
  • Changes in personality and previous behavior- changes like depression, obsessiveness, mood swings, lack of trust, social withdrawal, apathy, delusions, lack of motivation could be seen in an Alzheimer’s patient.
  • Sleeping problems.
  • Facing problems with speech and writing.
  • The severity of the symptoms could vary in each case and mostly depends on the level or stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

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    Types Of Yoga Poses That Can Help Individuals With Dementia

    There are different types of yoga that individuals with dementia can participate in. One of the most popular is known as Hatha which is a combination of many styles.

    It primarily focused on breathing-controlled exercises and yoga postures which end with a resting period .


    However, there is one type of yoga that most people with dementia practice especially as the disease progresses and this is known as chair yoga.

    Below is a highlight of what yoga is all about.

    Chair Yoga

    Chair yoga is a great option especially for persons with dementia who cannot handle too many yoga moves while standing.

    It offers an opportunity for participants to stretch, improve flexibility and strengthen muscles while using a stable chair that offers balance.

    Chair yoga also offers important relaxation and breathing techniques through stationary poses as well as guided relaxation that target different muscle groups.


    A study from Florida Atlantic University confirmed that chair yoga can help improve the quality of life for people with dementia. The participants of the study were older adults with moderate to severe dementia.

    Participants attended 45 minutes sessions two times a week for twelve weeks. The results indicated that over 97% of the participants were fully engaged in all the sessions.

    He continued to say that even though some did not understand verbal instructions from the interventionist, they still followed the poses from the instructor.

    Yogasanas To Get Rid Of Alzheimer And Parkinson

    Alzheimers prevention – brain exercises to improve memory and physical strength

    The following yoga asanas maintain the overall fitness of the body and help keep the mind healthy.

  • Uttanpadasana: It helps in treating acidity, indigestion and constipation. It also cures back pain and improves reproductive organs.
  • Halasana: Helps cure backache, infertility, insomnia, sinusitis, thyroid and menstruation problems.
  • Vakrasana: It helps facilitate digestion and regulates the secretion of digestive juices.
  • Bhujangasana: It tones the muscles, relieves stress and fatigue, opens the heart and lungs
  • Ustrasana: It helps reduce fat on thighs, strengthens shoulders and back muscles, expands the abdominal region and improves respiration.
  • Gomukhasana: It is very beneficial in treating chronic knee pain, strengthens the spine and abdominal muscles. It also helps to improve chest activity
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    What To Expect From A Yoga Class For Seniors With Alzheimers And Dementia

    While its entirely possible to learn yoga from home, group classes open the door for an immersive experience of both healthy movement and enriching community. Its always important to start out with a gentle class, especially for someone who is unfamiliar with yoga. Gentle classes tend to be slower paced, leaving a lot of time and space for personal adjustments and modifications. Here are some of the elements you can expect to find in a gentle yoga class for Alzheimers and dementia patients:

    Yoga is a personal practice. In most cases, teachers will help each student to find their particular expression of a pose and any modifications or adaptations they need to feel comfortable. Its a great idea to talk to the teacher before class about your aging loved ones needs and comfort zones, so they know how they can be most helpful. Classes for older adults with Alzheimers and dementia are welcoming, both in terms of the exercises and in terms of the social environment. Since each person finds their own unique expression of the poses, there isnt really a right or wrong way to do things, so judgments and pressures are left at the door.

    Recipes For Intellectual Eating

    Julie Morris, chef and bestselling author of Smart Plants: Power Foods & Natural Nootropics for Optimized Thinking, Focus & Memory, says the key to boosting brain power really comes down to one simple guideline, similar to what Dale Bredesen, MD, recommends: A diet that supports a healthy brain includes some fat, some protein, less sugar, and more plants. Then sprinkle in natural nootropics, she suggests. Derived from the Greek words noos, meaning mind, and tropos, meaning turned or changed, nootropics are indeed mind-changing, cognition-enhancing substances that can improve the way you think, feel, and function. She says she thinks of them as the superfoods of the cognition world. Natural nootropicssuch as cacao, matcha, reishi mushrooms, goji berries, ashwagandha, and turmeric not only maintain and protect neurological function, but research shows they can also improve your mental performance. Here, four recipes that are rich in healthy fats, anti-infl ammatories, and nootropics to keep your brain firing on all cylinders.

    Get smart about whats on your plate and in your mug. Try these brain-healthy recipes.

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    Aerobic Exercise And The Brain

    Its well established that aerobic exercise like running, swimming or anything that gets your heart rate up may be one of the single most important things you can do for your brain and body health. Exercise is known to stimulate neurons, reduce the risk of dementia and even slow down the aging process.

    Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist at New York University, says that even mild to moderate exercise can reduce your risk of dementia by 30 percent. In a past Being Patient interview, Suzuki referred to a study that found the most intensely active women had the lowest chances of developing dementia.

    If you were high-fit, you were 90 percent less likely to have developed dementia, Suzuki said. That tells me that in the range of exercise thats attainable these are not Olympic athletes here we can change our probability of getting dementia by between 30 percent with walking and 90 percent with being a high-fit person.

    Yogas Effect On Alzheimers

    The Yoga Rx for Dementia, Alzheimer

    Though aerobic exercise and fitness has largely been studied in the context of neurodegenerative diseases, researchers havent focused as much specifically on yoga. This newest analysis provides further evidence that yoga may also have memory-saving effects on the brain.

    In five of the 11 studies, participants without any yoga background took yoga sessions every week for 10-24 weeks. Researchers compared their brain health before and after those 10-24 weeks of yoga sessions. In the other studies, researchers measured brain changes in people who do yoga regularly, and compared them to those who dont.

    The researchers concluded that overall, yoga appeared to cause beneficial brain changes in the hippocampus, which is linked to memory, as well as the amygdala, which regulates emotions. The study also showed that yoga kept the prefrontal cortex, cingulate cortex and default mode network larger as well.

    From these 11 studies, we identified some brain regions that consistently come up, and they are surprisingly not very different from what we see with exercise research, Neha Gothe, kinesiology and community health professor at the University of Illinois and an author of the study, said in a news release.

    For example, we see increases in the volume of the hippocampus with yoga practice, Gothe continued, noting that its this particular region of the brain thats associated with memory and is first affected in dementia and Alzheimers research.

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    How Does Yoga Lower Stress

    The potential risks are low, but what about the possible benefits of yoga for those with Alzheimer’s? The jury is still out on whether practicing yoga can actually delay or slow or the progression of Alzheimers disease. But yoga does help with stress, which is known to have detrimental effects on the body. And theres increasing evidence, notes a review of studies published in February 2018 in the journal Neurobiology of Stress, that stress can have a harmful effect on the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers.

    Stress activates the bodys fight-or-flight response. This triggers a rise in heart rate, blood pressure, and the release of stress hormones, all of which have negative effects on your cardiovascular system.

    Yoga helps activate the opposite effect, known as the rest-and-digest response, when your parasympathetic nervous system essentially acts as a brake, dampening the stress response triggered by the cascade of stress hormones. Over time, regular yoga practice fosters the growth of this relaxation response, enabling you to be less reactive to stress.

    Benefits Of Yoga For Persons With Dementia

    Depending on a persons abilities, most yoga for people will dementia involves gentle movements that are performed easily and slowly manner.

    Yoga classes often last anywhere from 10-30 minutes. Professional yoga trainers can tailor the sessions to meet the motor skills and physical capabilities of the participants.

    Instructors do not force movements and participants are usually encouraged to complete the movements they can.

    It helps persons with the progressive illness feel a sense of empowerment and self-determination.

    Yoga offers plenty of benefits for persons living with dementia and some of them include:

    Helps to Reduce Stress

    Jonathan Graff-Radford, MD a behavioral neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota states that yoga is safe, good for mental health, and it can help reduce stress levels.

    Many people with dementia suffer from stress which activates the bodys fight-or-flight response.

    This can trigger a rise in blood pressure, heart rate, and release of stress hormones that have negative effects on the cardiovascular system.

    Yoga helps to activate the rest-and-digest response which is the opposite effect. This causes the parasympathetic nervous system to act as a brake that dampens the stress response which is caused by stress hormones.

    Practicing yoga regularly fosters the growth of the relaxation response allowing individuals to be less reactive to stress.

    Helps Improve Sleep

    NCCIH suggests that yoga helps to improve sleep.

    Develops Inner Awareness

    Enhances Fitness

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    Stress And Anxiety Can Be Reduced By Practicing Yoga

    Another aspect of dementia that is positively affected by practicing yoga is stress, which according to the Minded Institute, “has been shown to be a strong correlate of Alzheimer’s both for sufferers and their caregivers.” Stress and anxiety are connected to “inflammation in the body and central nervous system, hormone dis-regulation, sympathetic nervous system over-arousal and compromised quality of life.” In addition, while anxiety disorders are thought to be a risk factor for different types of dementia, repetitive negative thinking a manifestation of stresscan also make people more likely to experience cognitive decline.

    According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are other habits you can practice that may help prevent dementia. These include cardiovascular exercise, participating in brain-engaging activities , getting adequate sleep, and choosing to eat a healthy, balanced diet “lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.”

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    Stress Reduction For Patients And Caregivers

    Alzheimers prevention – brain exercises to improve memory and physical strength

    Caregivers of patients with Alzheimers and dementia, who are often under a tremendous amount of stress, may also benefit from yoga and meditation, especially when it comes to overall well-being and depressed mood. A growing number of studies including ours are showing positive brain and cognitive changes with practice, as well as benefits in longtime meditators compared to novices, Lavretsky says.

    Mind-body practices like yoga and meditation may also bring some solace to individuals like the character played by Moore, who must cope with the shocking diagnosis of early onset Alzheimers disease at age 50.

    Yoga and meditation can help people with Alzheimers feel happier and find peace, especially those in the early stages who are struggling with the reality of memory loss, Lavretsky says.

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