As I promised, this post is to share my experiences in my Kundalini yoga classes in Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico. Our Kundalini guru named Nirbhao Singh was amazing and his classes were extremely powerful. During the week, Nirbhao led us through many exercises, including fire breathing, stretching and guided imagery. I left each session both relaxed and drained as can be seen by the photo of the teacher and me. I have practiced many different types of yoga, but the Kundalini class experience was completely unique; I felt a forceful transformation take place.
Singh’s philosophy and that of Kundalini practitioners is that those who practice Kundalini on a regular basis can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In my many years working in the field of aging, both as a social worker and as an elder care marketer, I had never heard anyone make these claims about Alzheimer’s disease. As soon as I arrived back to Chicago, I Googled this concept, and found information to support his comment.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible, progressive disorder in which neurons (brain cells) deteriorate resulting in the loss of cognitive (thought) functions, primarily memory, judgment, reasoning, movement, coordination, and pattern recognition. In advanced stages of the disease, all memory and mental functioning may be lost.
Kundalini yoga is one of many traditions of yoga that share common roots in ancient Indian philosophy. It is comprehensive in that it combines physical poses with breath control exercises, chanting (mantras), meditations, prayer, visualizations, and guided relaxation. Breathing exercises are an important part of Kundalini yoga.
According to health24.com, there is some evidence from studies with healthy volunteers that use of certain breathing techniques (such as breathing solely through one nostril or the other) may improve different aspects of cognitive functioning and should be used as an integrative therapy.
Of course, this theory is not clinically proven, and they continue to warn that more studies are needed to determine if these techniques can reliably be used to improve cognitive function and possibly aid in treating cognitive and nervous system disorders.
This philosophy was of interest to me as someone who has studied Alzheimer’s disease from the early days when it was called senility, then organic brain syndrome (OBS), and now dementia. I can’t know if Kundalini yoga prevents or delays AD, but I do know that for me, it has lowered my stress level and I will continue to practice!
Marla Levie, BSW, MA, President and Founder of Focus on Aging, has successfully been providing marketing consulting, social media and recruiting services to the elder care market and to other service-related professions in the Chicago area for over 20 years. Use the contact tab to email Marla for additional information about her services.