Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease

Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease

Posted on Jan 26, 2023

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the nervous system as a result of nerve cell loss or damage in a region of the brain.
Parkinson's disease can benefit physically from yoga therapy because it promotes functional mobility and postural stability while relieving motor symptoms like tremors. One of the most effective alternative therapies is yoga, which helps to improve quality of life by enhancing flexibility, posture, and easing up tight, aching muscles. A person with Parkinson's can benefit from yoga in both the mental and social realms, which enhances their overall quality of life.


Parkinson's disease symptoms can be motor or non-motor symptoms. The condition can cause tremors, stiff limbs, poor balance, anxiety, and depression.
The following are the main motor signs of Parkinson's disease:
Limb stiffness
Bradykinesia, sluggish motion
Tremor, balance and gait problems
Loss of reflexes
Fatigue and hallucinations are two non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease that can have a significant negative influence on a person's quality of life.

Nutritional improvements have not been demonstrated to decrease the progression of the disease but a better diet and lifestyle in general improve mood and the desire to stay active. It seems that the utilisation of motion, sound, and particularly music can enhance motor, emotional, and behavioural functions.
Although there is no known cure for Parkinson's disease, you can learn the key components of yoga treatment for Parkinson's to help manage the symptoms. Yoga's sound, breath, and rhythm practises in a sequence may benefit people with Parkinson's disease by enhancing their sense of ease when moving.

Yoga Therapy

Yoga offers a wide variety of activities, making it an accessible therapy for the majority of people. It is suggested that practising yoga while adding music and rhythm may help in improving the range of motion, coordination and strength endurance for those who have Parkinson's disease. The consistent rhythm that music treatments provide for gait and stride can help with gait training.
Yoga pranayama is crucial since they enhance breathing capabilities and aid in concentration. They promote mental and emotional stability. The development of motor functions and the neuromuscular system are both greatly enhanced. The Yogendra Pranayamas are highly advised for treating these Parkinson's symptoms. Regular practise of Yogendra Pranayama I, II, III, and IV is recommended.

Yoga Asanas

For those who have restricted mobility or any sense of unsteadiness, seated and assisted positions may be more comfortable.

  1. Seated Cat-Cow Posture
The Seated Cat-Cow is a movement in which the belly is extended and flexed while seated in a chair. A hand can be placed on each knee to execute this exercise by moving the chest and abdomen forward while inhaling and then exhaling as you dome your spine and tighten the abdominal area. For the next two to three minutes, keep switching.
  1. Core Twists
Sit on a chair and place your hand on each shoulder as you conduct core twists. Slowly rotate to the right, then to the left, starting from the belly. Inhale while facing ahead and exhale while rotating to the sides. Keep going until you can feel warm, alert muscles in the sides of your waist.
  1. Lateral Spine Movement
Sit on a chair, and stretch your side by putting your left elbow on your left knee and raising your right arm. Hold this position for three breaths after which come to the centre and move to the left side. Make sure to inhale as you gently move your centre of gravity.
  1. Elbow Kayaks
For elbow kayaks, you can either sit or stand. Interlace your fingers behind your head, gently pressing your head into your hands; "paddle" your elbows forward and back, one at a time, as if you were kayaking and your elbows were your oars, taking pleasure in a deep side-body opening and more fluid shoulder mobility as you move.
  1. Arm Circles
Starting with your arms extended in front of you, palms together, circle your right arm forward while your left arm circles back while maintaining a deep, long breath. Reverse directions. Try starting with your hands on your shoulders, your elbows touching and forming opposing circles with your elbows. Then, just for fun, try moving your shoulders in opposite directions while holding your arms next to your torso. The exercise can be done with the arms moving in unison or opposition to one another.
  1. Leg Swings
Standing on one leg and holding onto a wall will allow you to conduct leg swings. Swing the second leg first forward, then backwards, catching the knee and holding onto it for three breaths before releasing it forwards again.
And, if you're sitting in a chair, try apanasana, which involves alternately pressing the knees into the abdomen while exhaling. Three times in a row
  1. Seated or Standing ‘Joy Kriya’
From a stable seated or standing position, lightly sniff in while raising your arms and crossing them at the wrists. Swing your arms out wide like an orchestra conductor as you inhale again, nearly two-thirds of the way to your maximum capacity. Swing your arms back to the crossed wrist position and inhale as deeply as you can. Exhale while bending your knees and bending slightly forward. Sweep your arms down and back past your sides. Feel how the swinging starts to become natural and energising by repeating the exercise five or more times, letting the momentum of one movement carry you to the next.
  1. Seated or Standing Dancing Warrior
Put your lower body in the warrior I stance and use a chair to support it. Put your right leg forward to begin. Put your arms in the classic warrior I posture for prayer as you exhale, then turn your chest to the left. In the warrior II position, inhale and spread your arms widely. Exhale, bring your right arm up as you inhale, assuming the posture of a tranquil warrior, and then lower your backhand to your calf. After exhaling, perform Ardha utthita parsvakonasana by bringing your right forearm to your front thigh.
Finally, turn your body to face front in a goddess position supported by a chair, then carry out the same flow on the other side.
Yoga treatment can be incredibly restorative and revitalising for Parkinson's disease management. It is crucial to select a yoga instructor who is certified, experienced, and has deep knowledge about what is effective and ineffective for people with the disease. It's also important to speak with and keep your doctor informed about the poses and exercises.