Can yoga help people with Parkinson’s disease?

Yoga is many things, including a form of exercise and mindfulness that has been used for centuries to promote overall wellbeing. It has become increasingly popular among people with Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, balance, and coordination.

People with Parkinson’s disease may experience tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Yoga, which involves physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation, may be helpful for managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. 

Studies have shown that yoga can improve balance and stability, which can help prevent falls, a common problem for people with Parkinson’s disease. Yoga can also help reduce tremors, stiffness, and rigidity, and improve mobility and flexibility.

One study published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease found that a 12-week yoga program improved balance, gait, and functional mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease. Another study published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy found that a yoga program that included physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation led to improvements in balance, flexibility, and quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease.

In addition to the physical benefits, yoga can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which can be common in people with PD. The breathing exercises and meditation practices used in yoga can help calm the mind and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. This can lead to an overall improvement in mood and quality of life.

It’s important to note that while yoga may be helpful, it should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment. People with Parkinson’s disease should always consult with their healthcare provider before starting any new exercise or wellness program, including yoga. 

It may also be helpful to work with a yoga instructor who has experience working with people with Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders, as they can tailor the practice to meet  the individual needs of their students while creating a safe and nurturing relationship to the practice.

When practicing yoga with Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to be mindful of your limitations and listen to your body. Some postures may be more challenging or uncomfortable than others, and adaptations may be necessary. It’s also important to focus on the breath and stay present in the moment, rather than pushing yourself too hard or becoming discouraged.

Yoga can be a valuable tool for managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. With proper guidance and a regular yoga practice, people with Parkinson’s disease may find that they are better able to manage their symptoms and live a more fulfilling life.

Check this page for our Yoga for Parkinson’s training.

Renée Le Verrier, Yoga for Parkinson’s Online Training