Rehabilitation following a brain injury is crucial. Yoga can be used as an integral part of this rehabilitation and the benefits of this are often overlooked.
Yoga practices will generally involve movement, breathing control (pranayama), mindfulness and meditation. Scientific studies have shown that yoga can both prevent disease and help sufferers from a number of medical conditions, and it is widely accepted that it makes you happy.
Practising yoga regularly can have a number of benefits, flexibility in muscle and connective tissues, increased muscle strength, improvement of posture, protection of the spine, enhancement of blood flow, boosting immunity, increasing the heart rate as well as relieving depression, improvement of co-ordination, and improvement of memory capacity. It has a very calming effect and aids sleep.
It is easy to see why yoga could be included as part of the rehabilitation programme where a brain injury has been sustained.
Sleep problems can be a disabling feature with a brain injury. It affects your cognitive function, including attention and processing speed, executive function and memory. Physical behaviours and emotional problems can all worsen as a result of sleep problems. Yoga may help with improved sleep and mood. It improves focus and memory capacity.
It builds awareness where anger can be a feature of a brain injury. It allows you to take a step back when needed and calms the mind. It gives you the ability to focus on one thing at a time. It opens the mind to an awareness.
Through practices of postures it releases pent-up tensions that build up in our bodies and minds.
Yoga may also be a good option where physical conditions prevent you from getting other forms of exercise and can be gentler when experiencing fatigue even if this is only 20 minutes of mindful movement.
As a personal injury lawyer, I have had clients who have used yoga as part of their neuropsychological treatment and rehabilitation. The family saw the benefits and reported that there were less outbursts and agitation, they were calmer. They also reported less cognitive issues and improved memory. I have had a client who would never have thought of doing yoga before his accident, being a rugby player, but was open to exploring this as part of his programme and both him and his family saw the benefits. He felt so much more in control of his emotions as well as helping with his physical injuries.
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