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Can Yoga Aid in Concussion Recovery?

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

According to the CDC, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. Most TBIs occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.

It is extremely important that concussions are handled properly by a licensed practitioner to avoid long-term effects. If you aren't sure where to go to receive care (and you live in the Midwest), I recommend Midwest Concussion Clinic. They are a research-driven and state of the art concussion management company that diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate complex head injuries with precision and care.

Since it is commonly prescribed that those suffering from a concussion avoid any exercise that would elevate the heart rate, breathing exercises or meditation can be a solution for some. Yoga means “to yoke” or “to unite” the body, mind, and spirit. A gentle yoga practice can offer cognitive, physical, and emotional improvements for someone healing from a concussion. In a 2016 study, adults with TBI, including concussions, participated in an 8-week pilot yoga program to study the feasibility and impact of yoga on quality of life. At the end, participants reported improvements in quality of life and self-perception, as well as a reduction in negative emotions.

Breathing exercises (known as pranayama in the yoga-sphere) can also cause dizziness or disorientation, especially if you are suffering from an injury, and should be practiced with caution and care. This is a beautifully written article about someone who was unable to do breath-work or meditation due to the overwhelming place it brought them. Everyone's path to recovery is unique, and you must do what is best for you.

Yoga is designed to meet people exactly where they are on any given day. As a yoga teacher, I have the honor of providing folks the tools to re-connect their body, mind, and spirit which, after a concussion, can feel like a daunting task. If you are in a place in your recovery stage where you are able to implement breathing exercises and/or gentle physical exercise into your regimen, then follow along with my online yoga Concussion Recovery Series. Level 1 Class 1 is available for people of all levels and abilities to participate.

To Learn More

We have a lot to learn about concussions and traumatic brain injuries, and concussions are gravely in need of more attention and support. If you or someone you love has experienced TBI, check out the following resources:

Midwest Concussion Clinic (concussion management company that diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate complex head injuries)

Pink Concussions (dedicated to women’s concussion recovery and research)

Love Your Brain (includes specialized yoga training for TBI)

Brain Injury Association of America (awareness and advocacy)

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