Yoga for ALS
Inclusion of a therapeutic practice like yoga, in tandem with physiotherapy and occupational therapy can help reduce the symptoms of ALS and greatly improve the quality of life. Yoga therapy uses asanas that involve stretching and relaxation of various muscles, in combination with deep breathing techniques to improve muscle tone and reduce pain. Research shows that the benefits of yoga for movement disorders include improved strength, flexibility, balance, overall fitness and quality of life.
Prana means Life and Ayam means control. Pranayam means control of the inner force of human life. The breath we breathe in and out is regarded as Prana which means bioenergy that endows man with ultimate potential for self-development. It is the vital life force. But man must suitably control and channelize the prana or use it for right end. Yoga prescribes various practices of Pranayama or control of Prana popularly referred to as breathe control. The yogic breathing itself becomes a prayer, a satisfying spiritual experience in which one is aware of the living presence of God.
There are 3 types of Pranayama which we describe here:
Pranayama (1) : Equalization of inhalation & exhalation; Techniques:
- Sit firmly and comfortably.
- Breathe in out 10 for equal counts.
- Breathe 10 times
Pranayam (2): Inter costal Breathing
- Hands on the side of the chest.
- Make chest rise up as you breathe in for 3 seconds and fall as you breathe out for 3 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times
Pranayam (3): – Anulom Vilom
- Sit in an asana for preparedness.
- Use the little finger to block the other nostril. Breathe out from the open nostril.
- Do same for the other nostril.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Lie on back legs fully extended and arms extended at the side.
- Be relaxed, inhale and raise arms above the head, rest them on the floor and stretch.
- Holding breath, slowly stretch the body at full length, the toes and fingers pointing outward, as if trying to reach out. (Any attempt at maximum stretching of the body should be only during retention of breath)
- Repeat 3 to 4 times with in-between pose.
Shavasana is recommended for complete relexation of the body and mind.
- Lie supine on the floor. Consciously relex different areas of the body starting with the toes.
- Next relax the ankles
- The knees
- The thighs and fingers together
- The genital area.
- The anus
- The abdominal area
- The chest region, the shoulders
- The neck
- The chin
- The mouth
- The tip of the nose
- The space between the eyebrows
- The forehead
- The mind
- Increases Circulation to the Neck,face and Scalp.
- Applied rehabilitation using Facial Muscles.
- Increase cell Nutrients and Oxygenation
- Isolating the muscles that control the mouth with various exercises can have a positive effect on overall speech quality for those suffering from a disease that weakness the muscles.
- Utilizing various facial exercises help build muscle tone.
- Stress management and anxiety control.
- The “O”
- Open your mouth wide, form an “O” with your mouth. Fold your lips over your teeth.
- Hold lips tight and smile. Hold 15 counts. Relax and Repeat 4-6 times
- Close your lips hard,,tighten the corners of your mouth. Hold 10 counts.
- Smile, stretch your lips (sour smile), imagine pulling the corners of your mouth towards your ears.
- Hold the position for 15-20 counts. Repeat 5 times.
“The Balloon” 3 Finger
- Fill air the cheeks (like blowing a balloon), place your fingers on your mouth.
- Using your facial muscles , forcefully try to displace the fingers coverting your mouth. Breathing
- Hold for 10 count. Repeat.
- t straight, close your eyes. Imagine a golden light flowing into your face.
- Now it is filling your cheeks, your chin, your neck. As it fills you can swallow easily, the saliva not drooling.
- You can hear yourself speak easily, your muscles of your mouth are moving easily. You sit still and feel the clouds of gold flowing in and out of your face
- . Slowly when you are ready, open your eyes.
# Note: Consult a Face Yoga expert prior to using the exercises