Yoga and Epilepsy

Submitted by Allan on March 19, 2013

Epilepsy is a disorder associated with the central nervous system. The central nervous system malfunctions due to the abnormal electrical activity that occurs in the brain. This abnormal electrical activity induced by the brain cells or neurons causes seizures, which results in the temporary loss of control over some body functions.

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According to the American Psychological Association, a seizure is defined as an abnormal neuronal discharge in the central nervous system. The seizure may develop in any of the part of the brain. It can also spread to other areas.


Yoga and epilepsy

According to studies, approximately 75 percent of the seizures are developed in the childhood stage. Epileptic seizures can be basically of two types, such as focal seizures and generalized seizures.

Focal or localized seizures are more common and develop in one or two specific locations of the brain. Although the causes are not clear, they are likely to develop from specific types of injuries. On the other hand, generalized seizures can develop on both sides of the brain. These are most likely to occur from the underlying genetic factors.

Yoga may be used as complementary and alternative medicine to manage the epileptic seizures. Yoga helps to coordinate the functioning of the body and the mind by channelizing positive energy. Scientific studies show yoga to be very helpful in controlling various psychological disorders of the brain such as increased stress and depression. Yoga is also known to help in balancing the blood sugar and blood pressure levels of the human body. Epilepsy is known to have certain risk factors such as emotional stress, lack of sleep, low blood sugar, hormonal changes, etc. Yoga comprises of various breathing exercises, asanas, and meditation postures that help to alleviate heightened stress levels of the individuals. Scientific research shows that yoga enhances the release of endorphins in the body and various natural mood elevator chemicals. Yoga also regularizes the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. In this way, it may be helpful for patients suffering from epilepsy, if done under proper supervision of the yoga professionals.

Yoga poses for epilepsy

Some yoga poses for epileptic seizure control are

  • Halasana (Plow Pose)
  • Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
  • Salamba Sirasana (Supported Headstand)
  • Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
  • Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Yoga poses to avoid

  • Kapalbhati (Cleansing Breath)
  • Bhastrika (Bellows Breath)
  • Mukha Dhauti (Single Blast Breath)
  • Sasangasana (Rabbit breathing)

Patients should avoid any type of fast breathing yoga steps and balancing postures.

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