Yoga for Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by lack of coordination between thought, words and deeds or actions. It is a psychotic ailment which medical practitioners say cannot be diagnosed completely. However, I believe, based on my work on schizophrenic patients that such persons have shown marked improvement in behavior with the practice of the following asanas and relevant community help, employment aid and family behavior therapy. Here’s a look at how schizophrenics can best contribute to a healthy society by improving their social behavior with the practice of these poses:

Dog pose I:  Adhomukhasvana Asana or the downward facing Dog Pose helps in is a great tool for curbing depression and anxiety disorder that comes with the disease. Inhale, raise your hands, exhale, bend forward, take two huge steps back, stretch your arms in front keeping your buttocks raised towards the ceiling. Rest the crown of your head on a stack of pillows or cushions if you cannot touch the floor. This posture helps regulate dopamine and serotonin release in the brain. Dopamine neurotransmitters are located in the deep middle region of your brain called the substantia nigra. The asana reaches out to the parts of the brain and is found effective in energizinging these nerve centres of pleasure and ‘feel-good’ sensation.

Urdhvadhanura Asana: This asana again helps to stimulate the brain cells responsible for social withdrawal symptoms, sloppiness of dress and hygiene, and loss of motivation and judgement found in a schizophrenic patient. Here you have to lie down on your back, place your arms taking them over the shoulder and placing the palms of your hand under the shoulder with elbows facing the ceiling. Bend your knees, exhale and push with your palms to raise your body against the floor. Ask your family member for help to raise your waist well-high up in the air. You could raise your heels off the floor. Stay in this pose for about sixteen counts. This is great for early diagnosis and reduce hallucinations, delusions and suicidal tendencies in advanced patients.

Grasshopper Pose: Shalabh Asana is great for again pushing your limits to work on your sense of paranoia, disorganized speech and thinking if you are a schizophrenic. Here you have to lie on your stomach, place your fist under your left groin, raise your left leg with thighs off the floor and chin on the floor, too. Then place your right fist under your right groin and lift the right leg off the floor. Lastly interlock your palms, place them under the inner thighs and lift both thighs off the floor together. Keep your legs straight as much as you can.
Bhastrika Pranayama: Sit up straight in Virasana or simply cross-legged pose. Place your hands rolled up in slightly-closed fists around your chest. Take a powerful deep breath in and raise your hands up in the air releasing your fingers and keeping them outstretched. Then exhale powerfully making a noise through your nostrils and bend your arms back to the original position near the chest. Repeat this cycle of Bhastrika Pranayama at least twenty times.Pranayam helps resolve the schizophrenic tendency of ‘splitting of mental functions’ in the body. It increases powerful blood supply to the brain and the heart, too.

Schizophrenia is again not incurable but a condition that can be overcome with the right conditioning and yoga therapy of the body. Perform the above asanas for a coupe of weeks and notice the behavioral


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