Yoga can help prevent or delay dementia

Yoga can help prevent or delay dementia
Yoga can help those suffering from dementia ©Shutterstock

Yoga coud prove very effective in dealing with dementia or delaying the onset of dementia.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : December 6, 2018 9:02 AM IST

Loss of cognitive function is one of the major symptoms of dementia, a degenerative mental disease. Some of the other symptoms include confusion, mood swings, long-term memory loss and a gradual loss of bodily functions. One of the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease in which there is plaque deposition in the brain's neurons which restricts the brain from functioning properly and causes it to die. Genetic susceptibility and mental age have been to be some of the main reasons. Infections that affect the brain and spine, brain abnormalities like hydrocephalus, head injuries, nutritional deficiencies are some of the other common causes of dementia and Alzheimer's. Sadly, there is no cure for dementia. There are drug therapies that could delay and slow down the progression of the disease. Keeping the brain active, a proper diet and exercise have been found to reduce the risk of dementia.

Here are some yoga asanas that could help delay dementia or even help dementia patients deal with the condition better. These yoga asanas should be encouraged and taught by the caregivers and should be done under their guidance.

Deep breathing: A study published in the journal Psychophysiology established a neurophysiological link between breathing and attention. The research showed that breathing -- a key element of meditation and mindfulness practices -- directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. the resrach states that this chemical messenger is released when we are challenged, curious, exercised, focused or emotionally aroused and, if produced at the right levels, helps the brain grow new connections, like a brain fertiliser.The way we breathe, in other words, directly affects the chemistry of our brains in a way that can enhance our attention and improve our brain health. The study found that participants who focused well while undertaking a task that demanded a lot of attention had greater synchronisation between their breathing patterns and their attention, than those who had poor focus. Thus breathing exercises could prove very effective for those suffering from dementia.

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Sarvangasana or shoulder stand: This asana can increase your memory by improving the supply of blood to your brain. To do this pose, lie down with your legs extending outwards. Now slowly raise your legs either by first folding them at the knees. Place your palms along your back and hips to support it, and raise your body while pointing your toes to the ceiling. Keep your weight on your shoulders. Lock your chin into your chest. Your elbows should be touching the floor and your back should be supported. Hold this pose for as long as you are comfortable.