Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that focuses on bringing the mind, body, and breath into balance. There are several different yoga disciplines including Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga – the two most common types of classes offered in the United States. Both use a series of poses that help participants stretch, improve flexibility and strength, and gain control of their breath. Both of these forms of yoga emphasize only moving when and where your body allows and modifying poses to meet your specific needs each day. As Renée Canada, founder of The Mind-Body-SHIFT who lives with dystonia states, “With unpredictable movement disorders, yoga meets you wherever you are.

There is little research on the specific benefits of yoga for people living with dystonia, but yoga is often referenced as one of the successful self-managed interventions patients seek when this question is asked during research about other interventions. There are also numerous anecdotal stories available online about the impact of yoga in the lives of people living with dystonia and similar conditions. The most commonly referenced book/video for yoga with dystonia is Renée Le Verrier’s Yoga for Movement Disorders. LeVerrier teaches all poses with variations for seated and standing poses. She also provides general guidance and teacher training for making yoga studios more welcoming and safe for people with movement disorders. Le Verrier offers a FREE online Yoga for Parkinson’s class on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 2:15. There is a video archive of classes available online. While the class is titled Yoga for Parkinson’s, she actively “weaves in” strategies for dystonia and dyskinesia.

If you’d like to try some simple exercises, Kathy Randolph, Certified Practitioner of Yoga for the Special Child™ put together a simple list and explanation of one breathing exercise and six poses she recommends for beginners with dystonia. Read through the list and try a few of them to see if yoga might be helpful to you!


17 Yoga Disciplines Explained – Seattle Yoga News
Yoga Meets People With Movement Disorders Wherever You Are – The Mind-Body Shift
Yoga for Dystonia – Dystonia and Tardive Dyskinesia
Yoga for Movement Disorders – Renée Le Verrier
Yoga for Parkinson’s Class Archive
Yoga for Dystonia – Kathy Randolph 

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Down with Dystonia Disclaimer

The medical information contained in this article is for general information only. It is not intended to provide instruction and you should not rely on this information to determine diagnosis, prognosis or a course of treatment. It is crucial that care and treatment decisions related to Dystonia and any other medical condition be made in consultation with a physician or other qualified medical professional.

Down with Dystonia is not responsible for the consequences of your decisions resulting from the use of this information, including, but not limited to, your choosing to seek or not to seek professional medical care, or from choosing or not choosing specific treatment based on the information. You should not disregard the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider because of any information you receive from us. If you have any health care questions, please consult the relevant medical practitioner.








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