Yoga & Parkinson's Disease of Parkinsons Disease & Movement Disorder Society


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Yoga & Parkinson's Disease

Yoga is an ancient Indian Science, which has been used for centuries to give physical and physiological health, mental peace, emotional equanimity and intellectual clarity to the practitioners. It involves the performance of various asanas (yogic postures) and pranayama (modulation of breath) to achieve its goal. In the last few decades, its popularity has been on the rise and people are now realizing its therapeutic benefits. Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, one of the world’s leading authorities on yoga has evolved various modulations of the classical yogic postures to aid individuals to attain benefit from their practice for specific medical problems. He has also invented many “props” which make it possible for one and all, including those with major physical and physiological limitations, to perform these yogic postures and attain benefit from their practice.

Practice of yoga can help patients suffering from Parkinson’s to control the disease and endure the disease. A research study was carried out by the Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorder Society in collaboration with the Light on Yoga Research Trust Mumbai, on the same.

The objective of the study was to determine the efficacy of yoga in altering the quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Two groups of patients matched with reference to age, gender and stage of disease were selected. One group of patients underwent “yoga therapy” for three months. They were evaluated using various non-invasive tests before and after the study period.

The patients were taught at the Iyengar Yogashraya and made to practice specific yogasanas for 1 ½ hours daily for a period of 10 days spread over 2 weeks (two sessions from Monday to Friday). Following the initial two weeks, the patients were asked to attend classes once a week for another 8 weeks.

The patients were made to perform various yoga postures (asanas) with the help of props. These asanas would be standing, supine, sitting or inverted and be done under the supervision of trained teachers of “iyengar yoga”. The asanas were done in such a manner that even the patients with very limited flexibility or mobility were trained to perform them.

The results of the study showed a significant improvement in the group of individuals who underwent training in the yoga classes as compared with the control group. There was an improvement in their mobility, flexibility, emotional state as well as their quality of life. This was reported not only by the patients but was detected in the different tests that the patients were subjected to.

Subsequent to the findings of these studies, regular sessions are being conducted at Iyengar Yogashraya to facilitate patients with PD cope with their disorder and gradually alleviate their symptoms. For further information on specialized programs organized for persons with PD you can contact PDMDS or the Iyengar Yogashray at the details given below.

Contact Details: Iyengar Yogashraya,

126 Senapati Bapat Marg,
Opp Kamla and Empire Mills, Lower Parel,
Mumbai - 400 013. Phone - 2494 8416.

We are grateful to Dr. Rajvi Mehta (Light of Yoga Research Trust) for her contribution to this section.