Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease
Yoga Classes in the PD Gladiators Metro Atlanta Fitness Network
The PD Gladiators Metro Atlanta Fitness Network features yoga and classes and private therapy adapted for PD by independent instructors, Dawn Benson (Suwanee), Cathy Hightower (Marietta) and Wendy Haggerty (Fulton, Forsyth and Gwinnett counties). Please visit the pages for their individual classes for more detailed information, including times, locations and eligibility:
Benefits of Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease
Yoga is an effective way for Parkinson’s sufferers to increase flexibility and ward off the rigidity associated with PD. Muscle spasms, atrophy, and rigidity associated with movement disorders often restrict balance and range of motion. Research shows that the benefits of yoga for movement disorders include improved strength, flexibility, balance, overall fitness and quality of life.
The benefits of yoga are numerous and yoga can benefit anyone, anytime. A devoted practice brings about long term benefits and one class will demonstrate the beginning of these benefits. However, a regular sustained practice can have the effect of slowing the progression of PD and mollifying or eliminating some symptoms.
If you think that yoga is just for the young, healthy and those who practice yoga regularly, think again. Yoga is by nature therapeutic and that means it is for everyone. Regardless of age, income or health, with the proper instruction, yoga is fantastic for people living with PD. Keep in mind that each individual brings unique needs and goals. Those can be addressed through a regular yoga practice and guided by a qualified yoga teacher. Below are just a few of the benefits you can expect from yoga for PD.
● Induces relaxation
● Lessens or alleviates tremors
● Reduces muscle tension and other pains
● Diminishes rigidity
● Improves balance and coordination
● Improves sleep
● Improves muscle strength and motor control
● Enhances focus, concentration and alertness
● Increases flexibility
● Creates deeper, easier breathing
● Provides tools to stand tall with great posture
● Balances emotions, calms the mind, creates a peaceful spirit
Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease is marked by a practice that addresses the needs particular to people living with PD. Limits to balance and range of motion restrict the ability of individuals with PD from practicing traditional yoga poses in a way that is beneficial to them. Injury can result from overstretching. Anxiety, a common symptom of PD, can heighten from the physical challenges of trying to move into a pose. The stress from the fear of falling can overwhelm the meditative value from standard yoga practice. Check out THIS VIDEO to see what a typical yoga class for people with PD is like.
In yoga classes offered by the independent instructors affiliated with the PD Gladiators Metro Atlanta Fitness Network, adaptations to the flow of poses as well as the individual poses reduce the risk of injury and anxiety. The use of supports and modifications enhance balance and range of motion, providing stability and alignment. Supports for assisting with balance and alignment in yoga for movement disorders include chairs, walls, bolsters, straps, weighted bags, and blankets. In addition, techniques using verbal cues and music aid in the success of providing yoga’s benefits to those with movement disorders.