Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yoga Exercises for Parkinson's Disease

how to become a certified yoga therapist
By Kimaya Singh

Can Yoga help people with Parkinson's disease? It's difficult to listen to promises and receive nothing in return. Yoga teachers are not all equal in knowledge or continuing education. Some can work with Parkinson's patients, but others can only teach flexible athletes because they really don't understand how the body works. How can there be such a difference? Each style is different in a approaching how exactly to run a 200 hour yoga instructor training program and that's all there is to it. Some trainings are geared to kick butt and some are designed to approach the therapeutic aspects of Yogic methodology.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a degenerative illness in the substantia nigra region of the brain, which controls muscle movement in the body. The part of the brain, which produces dopamine, fails to work. The effects of the disease get worse over time and the damaging loss of brain cells is irreversible. Patients typically suffer body-shaking tremors and have speech pathology problems. Unfortunately, the disease is not well understood enough to have a cure.

Around 60,000 cases of PD are diagnosed each year. 1.5 million cases have been found in total throughout America. At ages 55-60 the greatest loss of dopamine producing nerve cells occurs. Michael J. Fox is one of the most well known people with the disease. Many younger patients have it, but do not display tremor symptoms. They may only be able to operate at 20% less than their capacity for movement. Scientists are not positive if the cause is genetic or from toxic pollutants like pesticides. A patient with PD will begin to feel stiffness in their core during walking and other types of movement in general.

The John F. Kennedy Institute Of Denmark performed a medical study in 2002, which resulted in a 65% increase of short-term dopamine levels during restorative yoga exercises and poses. A 2005 pilot study at Cornell University showed wonderful results for patients with PD who saw major benefits just from their group interaction. They understood each other better than the doctors could.

Yoga training can help the dopamine deficient strengthen their muscles and keep their mind focused on the movement. Yogic methods help the mind concentrate on the center of the body. Yoga movements could help to re-route the brains neurological pathways. The mind learns to use new parts of the brain to perform the work of degenerated cells.

Yogic exercise routines should include only gentle and slow movements to strengthen the core. Lessons are preferable in a calm and non-stressful environment.

Yoga is only advised as a possible alternative or adjunct therapy to standard treatment. Patients who have akinesia (loss of movement), physical difficulty standing in a pose, or have balance problems, will not be able to rehearse typical asanas.

So what do you do? Find a chair, restorative or a vinyoga teacher or a therapist. A certified Yoga therapist can work with any person, whether they are in a wheelchair or a hospital bed. The best exercises to start with are seated pranayama, asana, relaxation, and meditation techniques. Seated techniques can be practiced on a chair, bench, couch or floor. If a patient is in a hospital bed, Yogic techniques can be practiced in supine or a propped up seated position.

Many patients who have PD can do more from standing positions, but an evaluation in the form of a private lesson, with family members welcome, is a good start. A private session let's everyone understand a safe starting point. From that point on, realistic goals can be set. 

© Copyright 2013 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Yoga Techniques Help Chemotherapy

restorative yoga teacher training course
By Faye Martins

Chemotherapy (chemo) is an intensive medical procedure that is usually recommended by oncologists for their patients to prevent the growth or effects of different forms of cancer. During the process of chemotherapy it is very important that patients remain as physically fit and mentally alert as possible. Medical evidence supports the idea that the more chemo patients fight to maintain their health, the better the outcome of their treatment is.

Chemo weakens the body and the mind. As patients undergo their chemo routines, they lose weight and muscle tone. Steroids are given to patients to compensate for the negative effects of chemo. Anti nausea drugs are given, but they also cause constipation. These patients suffer from depression as well, while they are terminated by their employers and medical bills fill their mail boxes. Conventional medicine provides treatment in the form of pharmaceuticals. While these prescriptions alleviate the symptoms, they do not provide lasting results.

Doctors are warming up to the idea of using the benefits of yogic medicine as a means of restoring chemo patients to good health. Yogic science has the dual benefit of strengthening both the body and the mind. Chemotherapy patients need support in both of these vital areas.

Since chemotherapy drains the body, patients are often in no position to go through intensive physical exercise regimes. Restorative and therapeutic yoga training allows for low intensity workouts that focus on every muscle group in the body. What’s more, even someone who is restricted to a hospital bed can perform these exercises. As the body goes stronger, the intensity of restorative asana practice can be gradually increased, always at a level the patient can comfortably cope with.

In order to restore cognitive function during and after chemotherapy, psychotherapy and mental exercises are recommended. In these cases, a therapist works closely with a patient, measuring their progress and making adjustments accordingly. Yogic therapy works in a similar way. As yoga training demands ever-increasing levels of concentration, even the most basic of yogic positions trains the mind to focus intently on one goal. As chemo patients learn to hold their focus, their mental alertness increases steadily.

Depression is one of the most pernicious effects of chemotherapy. Patients undergoing radical changes to their bodies often find themselves unable to cope with these sudden changes. Yogic methodology enables patients to think critically and pragmatically about their experiences, and to develop a plan of action.

Very few medical therapies are as intimately intensive as that of chemotherapy. Chemo patients must deal with hourly assaults on their bodies as well as their spirits. Yogic practices are like nothing else and offer patients a strong methodology of confronting the effects of chemotherapy.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yoga Popularity – Will it Stop?

how to become a certified hatha yoga instructor
By Faye Martins

Students are amazed at yoga's increasing popularity across the world. There are many books, magazines, and complete television shows devoted to yoga practice. There are plenty of DVDs devoted to Yogic exercises. The Internet is saturated with websites that speak volumes about the benefits of a Yogic lifestyle. Why does Yoga continue to increase in popularity while other forms of activity decrease or lose followers? Well, it is often difficult to explain in words to those who are not familiar with Yoga training methods. People who become involved with Yogic practices go through an amazing transformation that is very difficult to explain. Yoga Popularity - Will it stop? Judge for yourself.

Yoga is popular because it is an easy way to ease into an exercise program. Yoga schools do not require a variety of equipment or special type of clothing. Yogic techniques are suitable for a youngster and an older adult. The asanas (poses) are usually easy for many people to try and a certified Hatha Yoga instructor can teach anyone the modifications for a new student. Many students are amazed at the strength and flexibility they achieve while practicing the poses. Some find that physical complaints are resolved. They no longer experience aches and pains in their joints, back, or knees. Asanas involve the body and the mind. In fact, the practice is a complete fitness regiment for body, mind, and spirit.

Ask several people why they like to practice and you will probably receive several different answers. The most popular reasons revolve around finding a way to reduce stress or to feel less stress. It is true that we live in a world that is filled with too much stress. We find lots of stress at work and at home. This stress builds up in the body and causes all types of health concerns. Many find that sitting in a quiet space and practicing asana, meditation, and pranayama (Yogic breathing techniques) helps them to reduce the amount of chronic stress in their life.

Yoga also involves the mind and places the individual's attention right in the present moment. It is certainly difficult to think about problems at work, difficult kids, bad relationships, nagging in laws, when you are posing. Yogic methodology is an ancient healing practice that has its origins in India. The practice has achieved amazing popularity over the centuries. People who practice Yogic methods feel that they are definitely on an enlightened path to improved health and wellness, which suggest that Yoga is here to stay. 

© Copyright 2013 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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