How Yoga Benefits People Living With Dementia
Yoga has proven to have many positive effects on the mind, body, and soul, which can greatly benefit people living with dementia. It reduces agitation and anxiety, which improves their general wellbeing. Yoga can use sound, familiar actions, and music which can stimulate different memories. Dementia is characterized by the disconnection of memories of life experiences, while yoga is the science of connecting the mind, body, and soul. That is why it’s important to engage people diagnosed with dementia in different types of yoga.
Yoga emphasizes body awareness which helps in building confidence. It also makes dementia patients calm, flexible and improves their balance and motion. Besides body awareness, yoga requires a lot of physical effort, which is good for motor skills and cognitive function. Many dementia patients are most anxious and stressed; relaxation through yoga will relieve stress and anxiety. It also reduces confusion because the participants can be present and let go of the pressure to remember everything. Most of these patients are constantly faced with a lot of pressure from family and friends to remember special events or people, which only adds to their stress.
Cardiovascular exercise and endurance bring motivation and energy that helps them engage in other physical activities outside yoga. The postures can be done on a mat, sitting on a chair or standing, which means the teacher will be bringing related imagery that can boost imagination and memory. The physical postures and practices help in creating opportunities for them to express themselves without even using words. That helps their mood greatly, they can be free to let go and enjoy the moment, and it also helps because yoga is fun.
The brain is capable of creating new pathways through encountering new experiences. Yoga exercises can help the brain to make new pathways because it engages the mind in different practices. Anyone with dementia is bound to have some good days and bad days; yoga’s mindfulness is very calming for the mind and body. Many yoga classes have dedicated time focused on meditation and breathing exercises that relax the mind. The physical benefits also affect the mental wellbeing; if the patients are in good physical shape, it gets easier to focus on their minds. Yoga benefits both the mind and the body of people living with dementia; it helps with their focus, brain function, and relaxation.
According to Jane Byrne, project manager at a Wicklow nursing home, “The best way to help with dementia is to challenge the brain in appropriate and productive ways. That is why yoga is highly recommended for people with cognitive disorders; it stimulates the brain in many ways. It helps how you process different emotions and experiences, which may improve the quality of life for people with dementia.” They will handle stress and anxiety better and gain some techniques they can use to calm themselves down. The symptoms of dementia include agitation, depression, and hallucinations; yoga is practically designed to help the mind deal with such things.
Whether you are affected or have a loved one with dementia, enrolling in yoga classes can help manage the symptoms. The classes also provide an opportunity for socialization and a support group. Being surrounded by people going through the same thing is good because they can be free and share experiences. Yoga is good for fighting stress, anxiety, and depression, which are among the major symptoms of dementia. It helps the patient find peace with their condition and live a much happier life.
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