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Yoga for Epilepsy
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Forum Posts: 82
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November 21, 2008 - 11:27 pm
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Calling all Yoga Teachers:

Does anyone have any resources or yoga prescriptions for working with students who have epilepsy? I have an Iyengar based lesson plan, but any fresh ideas will help.

Peace,

Parell

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December 4, 2013 - 7:24 pm
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Yoga for Epilepsy

The occurrence of seizures can be decreased and controlled through the regular practice of yoga, and this exercise can also assist in alleviating the pain that is associated with the time after a seizure has passed. Studies regarding the benefit of yoga for epileptic patients date back to 1996 and earlier, when it was determined that people who practice yoga display a decrease in seizure activity as significant as 86 percent. Meditation can be used alongside yoga to help subdue epileptic responses and maintain a seizure-free state of homeostasis.

Epilepsy is a condition that has been studied and treated for many centuries, and ancient Chinese medicine cites yoga as one of the earliest treatments of this condition. More than 50 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy, according to the World Health Association. Many of these people have seizure activity, though not all display seizure tendencies. Unfortunately, a large number of individuals remain misdiagnosed or undiagnosed with seizure disorders, and not all who receive an accurate diagnosis receive appropriate and timely treatment.

The internal balance that is promoted by yoga involves vasodilation and decreased blood pressure, improved circulation and oxygen transport to the organs and tissues, and deep, diaphragmatic breathing that results in the removal of metabolic wastes from the body. The stabilized internal environment of the body is better able to maintain a normal blood pH level, which helps to prevent the occurrence of seizures. Experiences students to completely avoid seizures if the student is able to recognize the beginnings of a seizure before it takes over can utilize diaphragmatic breathing.

Yoga can be used to prevent seizures from happening, but it can also be practiced to ease post-seizure pain. The improved flow of healthy, oxygen-rich blood helps to rejuvenate the organs and tissues, resulting in more elasticity and flexibility in the muscles. The muscles become less tense, which helps to alleviate the discomfort associated with seizures. The relaxation promoted by yoga helps to avoid the body becoming tense during an attack.

Whole-body awareness is important when choosing poses that will benefit epileptic students. Those that are ideal for opening the shoulders and chest help to improve breathing and metabolic functioning. Repetitive rolling or stretching motions can be utilized for maximum benefit, and poses can be standing or reclining. Relaxation is key when practicing yoga for relief from epileptic seizure activity, and it can help decrease seizure occurrences entirely.

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