From art and painting to yoga and meditation, there are a number of alternative therapies brain injury survivors find helpful. Yoga has therapeutic benefits and it’s a great form of light exercise for those who may not want to hit the gym for weights or cardio. Many brain injury survivors find yoga is most of all, a great form of relaxation, which can be a wonderful way to start or end the day. Additionally, yoga can help you to increase your flexibility, strength, self-confidence and self-esteem. Thinking about starting yoga? Consider these tips first.
1. Talk to your doctor. Before starting any new kind of exercise regimen, you should always have a conversation with your doctor. Additionally, if you have specific needs, your doctor may be able to recommend a yoga instructor or program to you that could work with your hospital or other brain injury survivors.
2. Get the right gear. If you’ve been cleared by your doctor to start yoga, make sure you get the right gear. Yoga clothes, which don’t need to be by a specific brand – they can even be comfortable sweats, a yoga mat and water bottle are all necessities. Also, get a pair of yoga socks or go barefoot for yoga.
3. Take a beginner class. Start with the basics! Learn the basic moves and master those first, before moving on to anything intermediate. Your local yoga store, such as Lululemon which offers free classes on weekends, may offer classes right in the store!
4. If you’re concerned about anything, speak with your yoga instructor. Let him or her know your concerns and ask for feedback if needed.
5. Be open to it. Many people are fearful of looking “silly” or not knowing what they’re doing. Don’t worry about how you look and focus on the moves, breathing and enjoying this new activity. Remember, anything new takes practice. The instructor is there to help you, too.
6. Don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with. Poses range from the most basic to the challenging and extreme. Do what you’re ready for and don’t push yourself. Stay at your own pace.
7. Warm up before every session. Basic stretching for as little as 10 or 15 minutes will help warm up muscles.
8. If practicing yoga at home, make sure you do so in a quiet, clutter-free area where it’s easy for you to focus.
Looking to get into yoga or other alternative therapies, but don’t know where to start? Attend the 32nd Annual Brain Injury Conference on March 28th at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough, Mass. where there will be workshops on alternative therapies including yoga and art! Click here to register.