Inspirations

The Brain, Dementia and Yoga

I recall Iyengar once said, “the brain is the most difficult organ to adjust”. I am staying with my 88 year old mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s and dementia and this is apparent. After 45 years of yoga, my mother Susan’s body is healthy and stable but she cannot remember a thing. Her spirit is bright, even ebullient and cheery, but she cannot follow the flow of events occurring in time. People, places, schedules, names and dates all escape her.

She does not ever really get flustered or distressed by this absence.

I am relieved to know she does not get anxious that she does not know. Rather she keeps an even keel, unruffled by her disability. I like to think that this is due to her long standing practice of meditation and yoga. As people age, their view narrows. Dementia is like looking through a steamed up window with only a small circle of clear glass to look out through to the world.

But today she did supta virasana (shown in the photo below), dog pose and spinal twists. Her muscular-skeletal memory guides her into position. While her ability to name and number the things of the world is opaque, her stretch receptors and baroreceptors remember a space of ease inside.

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