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How Yoga & Meditation Can Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

posted on 8/23/2016 Facebook Facebook

If you think that you don’t have to worry about Alzheimer’s as yet and that it is an old man’s disease, then think twice. A progressive brain disease, recent statistics has revealed that women as young as 35 years of age are affected with this disease. While there is no known cure for the disease, neurologists say that one can cut their risk by adhering to healthy lifestyle practices.

Preventing Alzheimer’s: Possible?
Eating right, exercising regularly and keeping your mind active can all help to cut down the risk of Alzheimer’s significantly. And while we are on the topic of prevention, newer research suggests that the ancient mind-body art of yoga and meditation can play an important role in prevention and improving symptoms of the Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Yoga & Meditation For Alzheimer’s
One of the most serious implications of Alzheimer’s is dementia (a general term for loss of memory), which can interfere and impair your day to day activities. Yoga is a brain exercise in itself and helps engage different types of the brain through the use of various movements. The various components—breathing, chanting, meditating, postures) are all known to stimulate brain activity and improve cognitive skills. This can help the brain form new connections and recover from injuries.

Improving Memory With Yoga
Several studies have been able to highlight the usefulness of yoga and other mind body practices in dealing with the daily struggles of an Alzheimer ridden life. One of the most notable studies published in the Journal Aging was able to suggest that in addition to healthy lifestyle choices, eating habits and appropriate amount of exercise, a structured dose of yoga on a daily basis can improve memory loss which may even be reversed and the improvement sustained.

Yoga and meditation can not only help reduce the progression of cognitive decline but also prevent it. A small pilot study carried out in 2013 found that people who practiced mindfulness meditation showed less atropy in the hippocampus area of the brain.

Stress Reduction With Yoga & Meditation
Neurologists insist that chronic stress can negatively affect the brain structures that are important for memory and cognition. It can also initiate inflammation in the body which can affect your brain and also cause other disorders of aging. Highly regarded for its anti-anxiety and stress reducing characteristics, yoga and meditation can help people with Alzheimer’s to cope more effectively and protect the body from any adverse stress responses.

Start with a chair yoga class, where all the poses and stretches are performed seated in a chair or standing and holding on to the chair for convenience. Older participants who are too frail to stand can benefit from this class. Here are five poses you can try:

1. Half Spinal Twist (Modified)

Pranayama, Or Deep Nostril Breathing

Parvatasana, Or Mountain Pose (Modified)

Balasana, Or Child Pose (Bedtime)

5. Savasana, Or Corpse Pose (Bedtime)


1. Mishra SK, Singh P, Bunch SJ, Zhang R. The therapeutic value of yoga in neurological disorders. Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2012 Oct;15(4):247-54. doi:10.4103/0972-2327.104328. PubMed PMID: 23349587; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3548360.

2. Innes KE, Selfe TK. Meditation as a therapeutic intervention for adults at risk for Alzheimer''s disease - potential benefits and underlying mechanisms.Front Psychiatry. 2014 Apr 23;5:40. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00040. eCollection 2014. Review. PubMed PMID: 24795656; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4005947.

3. Bredesen DE. Reversal of cognitive decline: a novel therapeutic program. Aging (Albany NY). 2014 Sep;6(9):707-17. PubMed PMID: 25324467; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC4221920.

4. McCaffrey R, Park J, Newman D, Hagen D. The effect of chair yoga in older adults with moderate and severe Alzheimer''s disease. Res Gerontol Nurs. 2014 Jul-Aug;7(4):171-7. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20140218-01. Epub 2014 Feb 26. PubMed PMID: 24568209.

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