Yoga Therapy for Alzheimer and Memory Loss

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Early stage Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Loss

Allopathic view:

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by a progressive and debilitating decline in cognition, function and behavior. Its incidence rate increases exponentially with age, with the highest increase occurring after 70 years of age.

Alzheimer’s exact pathological mechanisms remain to be determined, with a number of theories having been proposed. Risk factors for AD development include genetic factors, cerebrovascular disease, traumatic brain injury, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and smoking. According to A predominant line of research in AD, deposition of some types of peptide chains, leading to cerebral plaques. This has been linked to neurofibrillary tangles, cell loss, and vascular damage leading to dementia.
There is no known allopathic cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but drugs containing Cholinesterase inhibitors are recommended in order to increase the level of cell-to-cell communication among AD patients. Neuro-protective factors also include adequate diets, exercise and intellectual activity.

Samkhya Yoga View:

A disease brought about by the imbalance of the Wind and Space Elements, the solution to the prevention and symptom reduction of AD, as per Samkhya Yoga, lies in the cognitive space known as Hrdakasha or ‘Perceptive emotional space’. As per Samkhya Yoga view, AD would seem to occur through intense types of emotional attachments to expected events, inducing a state of almost permanent stress. Because the individual is disassociated from the lower elements, this imbalance is compounded and then the stressful situation gets exacerbated. A vicious cycle is then set up leading to imbalanced immunological mechanisms which in turn, through an accumulation of peptide hormones, leads to plaques in the brain.

 

Yogic Lifestyle advice:

An active physical lifestyle is an absolute necessity for the prevention and symptom reduction of AD. Prevention of stenosis [lowering of blood flow in capillaries] and cell degeneration are to be prevented and reduced through proper exercise by following the prescribed Chikitsa Yoga asana sequence for Cerebral and Neural degenerative diseases.

Those at risk or suffering from AD must envisage reducing the intensity of their careers and taking months off every year to pursue a completely different and physically challenging calling/ hobby. Exercises involving whole body dynamics, like swimming, down hill running, climbing and surfing are highly recommended.

 

Asanas for disease reduction:

The Yogic techniques always start with the physical, in order to bring a state of homeostasis, which leads to symptom reduction. The following are a small selection of simple asanas that will begin the process of recovery from memory loss.

SARVANGASANA – Shoulder Stand

Sarvangasana 4

Sarvangasana

  1. Lie flat on your back with the palms facing down
  2. Raise your legs & hips up, keeping the chin close to your chest
  3. Support your lower back with your palms, lift your back off the mat while keeping your knees and back straight
  4. Gaze at the point between the toes, breathing deeply through the chest. You may even close your eyes
  5. Remain here for 3-4 mins then relax your palms and come down gently.

PASCHIMOTTANASA – Queen Pose

Paschimottanasana 3

Paschimottanasana

  1. Sitting on your hips, stretch your knees and place your palms next to your hips
  2. Extend your arms and grab both the toes with your fingers and thumb
  3. Bend down from the pelvic region of the back, maintaining a concave back
  4. Relax your shoulders and try to get your forehead between the knees, if you can’t get the forehead completely down, gaze at the toes
  5. Gradually rest your elbows on the mat and stay in this pose for 2-3 minutes
  6. Inhale, raise the head from the knees and relax

 UTTANASANA – Standing Forward Fold Pose

Uttanasana 2

Uttanasana 2

  1. Stand straight, keeping the knees tight in Tadasana
  2. Exhale, bend forward without bending knees. Place the palms on the floor next to the feet
  3. Stretching the spine, try to get your head as close to the knees as possible. You may place your palms behind ankle
  4. Hold here for a few breaths
  5. Inhaling, come up and straighten your spine, standing straight in Tadasana

Content and Image ©AryaMarga Society

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