Resaerchers from Hong Kong provided another reason to like Yoga! People with Parkinson’s disease may have less anxiety and depression when they practice yoga focused on mindfulness and breathing exercises.
Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common chronic neurodegenerative diseases. Classic motor symptoms include tremors, rigidity, slowed movements, and postural instability – but patients with Parkinson’s can also experience a variety of cognitive problems as well as psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety, researchers noted in JAMA Neurology.
For the study, researchers randomly assigned 138 adults with Parkinson’s to participate in eight weeks of either a mindfulness yoga program or an exercise program focused on stretching and resistance training to improve mobility and stability. All of the participants could stand and walk without canes or walkers.
“This study concludes that mindfulness yoga alleviates psychological distress, improves spiritual well-being and quality of life, not to mention motor symptoms and mobility,” said lead study author Jojo Kwok of the University of Hong Kong. “What is exciting, is that yoga has now been proven to be a better strategy than just stretching.”
According to Reuters, mindfulness-based training programs are designed to help people focus on the present moment and accept any pain or discomfort they may be feeling. This may involve meditation techniques to cultivate awareness of the present moment during ordinary daily activities such as driving or eating, or breathing exercises and practices such as yoga to help encourage body awareness and focus on the present.