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For people recovering from traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion or head injury, yoga offers gentle exercises with therapeutic benefits. Many survivors are unable to take previous paths to stay in shape. Balance disorders, loss of motor control, dizziness and neck injuries restrict physical activity and further restrict the already restricted lifestyle. Fortunately, a yoga practice can adapt to any illness or injury and is particularly well suited for TBI healing.
Where should one start? Due to the recent popularity of yoga in the West, students can now choose between hot yoga, Kundalini and Ashtanga. People with neck or back injuries, as well as head injuries, are more likely to start with a teacher trained in Iyengar yoga who uses aids to help them straighten without effort. Kripalus-trained teachers also offer quieter, relaxing courses. Any yoga class that focuses on the river (but not too fast) will help train sequential processing, an advantage for people who have suffered left brain or rational side damage. A Vinyasa sequence combines breath and movement, emphasizing progress step by step in a set order. Learning and remembering such movements through repetition becomes a form of cognitive therapy.
Before starting a yoga practice, survivors should talk to their treatment providers and their designated yoga teacher. Most teachers ask for injuries at the beginning of the lesson, but few people understand the intricacies of TBI on their own. Explain any unusual sensitivities or limitations that occur to you, and ask the instructor for recommendations within their class or suggestions on where to find more compatible classes. Yoga should support and promote growth, not exhausting the body and nervous system.
For this reason, survivors may want to stay away from Kundalini Yoga or Bikram Yoga, both of which offer bowel training. Kundalini Yoga aims to awaken dormant energy potential, which sounds good to TBI survivors. In fact, it can help tremendously - as soon as neurons have stopped causing misfires and "short circuits". However, most survivors measure their stamina inaccurately and easily self-stimulate. Kundalini Yoga works at a subtle level, making it harder to monitor the energy levels. Sometimes the fast awakening Kundalini turns out to be too much for a sensitive TBI survivor. Bikram Yoga takes place in a very hot room and moves quickly through poses that promote the sweating of toxins. As with Kundalini fans of Bikram rave about its advantages. However, for a hypersensitive survivor, Bikram's excessive heat, body odor, and physicality make it a less safe option. Instead, look for class titles like Restorative, Beginner, Iyengar, Kripalu, and Gentle.
Yoga Journal offers many DVDs in case survivors prefer to study comfortably from home. Start with short sessions to build mental and physical stamina. Twenty-minute DVDs give the survivors a sense of accomplishment, without the potential tiredness caused by one-and-a-half hours of personal instruction. Downward Dog Productions with Sarah Bates also offers accessible yoga DVD workouts designed specifically for people with disabilities. Yoga workouts at home account for the bulk of yoga learning expenses, as survivors can invest in one or two DVDs to practice each day instead of paying for each lesson each time. On the other hand, a good yoga teacher can personalize routines to support survivors & # 39; own unique health challenges.
In addition to the formation of lean, strong muscles and the natural reorientation of the spine, yoga offers TBI survivors the opportunity to reconnect with their bodies in a positive way. Robin Cohn, a TBI survivor and Vice President of the New York State Brain Injury Association, recognized the transformative effects of yoga in her own recovery: "I started with a gentle beginner yoga class in which I slowly began to atrophy the muscles moved the more I walked, the better I felt. "Inspired, she began teaching yoga classes designed specifically for other survivors. "These students are so excited to have the opportunity to practice yoga and enjoy the wonderful benefits of asana and pranayam (breathing) ... The happiness, peace and quiet that yoga brings them is so rewarding! Her smile just says a lot about how happy they are to practice. "
Yoga brings awareness from over 5000 years of the connection of body, mind and soul. It began as a means of calming the endocrine system and relaxing the body so that practitioners could meditate longer. These soothing, toning and relaxing effects make it an ideal practice for TBI survivors whose systems are constantly overburdened. As you slow down and focus on yourself, it can help anyone deal with stress. For TBI survivors, however, yoga offers insight into not just "normal" functions. Yoga also brings the chance for optimal health and well-being. Many practitioners experience peace and self-acceptance for the first time in their lives, including injuries. Yoga becomes part of a greater awakening (supported by TBI) that helps survivors find and appreciate the hidden blessings of their journey.