Thursday, March 30, 2017

Yoga and Meditation for Memory Care

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet...the colors of the rainbow; our theme for yoga and meditation with the residents of an assisted living facility specializing in memory care. Yoga and meditation help keep the body and mind strong, improving overall health, increasing relaxation and instilling a sense of general well-being, and research has shown that yoga improves the quality of life for seniors in assisted living facilities. 

A sensory sequence for these sassy seniors was planned, a tactile experience with joyful sound, movement, color and touch. Rainbow colored scarves waved in the air as we came into the present moment with the song "Colors" by Kira Wiley. Chair yoga pose variations that promote circulation and flexibility were practiced as well as deep breathing techniques while traveling "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with IZ, loosening up the neck, shoulders, arms and hips. Relaxation with a Kirtan Kriya Meditation connected us to the Sun, Moon, Earth and Sky by way of finger taps. Before long we were remembering "What a Wonderful World" we live in!

Kundalini Yoga Kirtan Kriya Meditation has been the subject of study for many years. The outcomes suggest it can actually help preserve memory and slow Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. Results show yoga and meditation reduces stress and strengthens the brain. Yoga and meditation are not a cure but the science points to one conclusion; yoga and meditation help slow the progression of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Participants in the studies experienced reduced stress, improved mood and resilience, reduced depression and anxiety, improved verbal memory skills as well as improvements in visual-spatial memory, which is the ability to navigate and remember locations. In addition, grey matter and protective tissue increased, benefiting decision making. Regardless of your current age or cognitive abilities these are things we can all benefit from. 

Here is a link to the technique of Kundalini Yoga Kirtan Kriya Meditation found at the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation if you'd like to give it a try.

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