Yoga for MS, Parkinson's and other Neurological Disorders

by Dr Bryony Hughes, yoga teacher at Fix Studio

Earlier this year, I was invited to teach yoga to a small group of students with Parkinson's Disease.  With my background in medicine and a passion for making yoga accessible to everyone, I jumped at this opportunity.  It was been wonderful sharing the practice of yoga with this group.  Each week, I learn something new about how the condition impacts on my students' lives, and together we explore how different practices can help them manage their symptoms.  Since moving the class to Fix Studio, I am now looking to expand the class to include students with multiple sclerosis and other progressive neurological conditions.


What are the benefits of yoga?

Practising yoga and mindfulness can give people a sense of control over their body and mind.  In Parkinson’s Disease (PD), the uncertainty over how symptoms will change over time can be challenging.  Changing how the body feels through breathing and movement practices can give back a sense of self-efficacy.

Postural instability is a hallmark of PD.  Yoga improves balance through standing poses (as well as the more advanced arm balances and inversions). Balance poses are modified to the individual with support from a wall or a chair as needed.  Practising balance within the safe and supported class environment can help address a fear of falls. Yoga postures help to develop strength, specifically in the lower body, spinal extensors and the core muscles.  This is beneficial for postural stability and functional mobility. 

Those with PD may face difficulty initiating and controlling voluntary movement such as standing up, walking and sitting down.  Yoga involves bringing awareness and attention to movements that automatic in everyday life.  It is thought this form of ‘attention retraining’ may help improve functional movement.  

Studies have shown a regular yoga practice can improve flexibility and range of motion in the shoulders, hips and spine.  This supports people with PD achieving a more upright posture and addressing rigidity. 

Yoga can be beneficial for mood and sleep.  The practice triggers the ‘relaxation response’, increasing vagal tone and enhancing output from the parasympathetic nervous system.  This can alleviate anxiety as well as equipping people to manage stressful situations in everyday life.  Improving mood can also be beneficial for motor symptoms.  Research has shown that mindfulness can also alleviate low mood and help to manage stress.  For those with PD, learning to be present can help with acceptance of a diagnosis as well as living with the daily challenges of the disease. 

Studies have shown that the practice of ‘yoga nidra’ is associated with a short-term increase in dopamine levels (Kjaer TW et al, 2002).  This suggests that it may be beneficial for those with Parkinson’s Disease where dopamine levels are low.

Attendees during one Bryony’s classes. The use of chairs and props, plus careful programming help make the sessions accessible and safe to all levels.

Attendees during one Bryony’s classes. The use of chairs and props, plus careful programming help make the sessions accessible and safe to all levels.

What to expect from the class?

This is a class specifically for those living with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other progressive neurological conditions.  It is accessible for different mobilities - Some students use the floor to practice, but the class can also be practised entirely from a chair.   Through breath work, physical postures and deep relaxation, the class aims to give inner calm and stillness as well as to help manage symptoms and side effects of medications.  It is a safe and supported space to practice yoga and explore what it can do for you.

In the class, you can expect: 

To be treated as an individual.  Recognising that conditions affect each person differently, the yoga practice will be adapted to your needs on that day. 

To feel part of a community.  By attending a class, you can meet other people who share some similar challenges and get support from being part of a group.  During the class, we practice in silence, but there is an opportunity for discussion at the end.

To begin with relaxation.  This may involve a guided body scan meditation, breathing exercises or visualisation.  Relaxing can help reduce motor symptoms and allow you to get more from the physical practice.

To learn physical poses (or asana).  Yoga postures help develop strength, flexibility and balance.  Every pose is modified to the ability of the individual with the use of the wall, chairs and/or blocks for support.

To link movement with the breath.  Simple movements are practised with the breath, moving in and out of postures as you breath.  It can be easier to control movement in flow rather than longer holds.

To practice mindfulness.  Throughout the class, you will be guided on being aware of body sensations and keeping your attention on the present moment.  The practice of yoga encourages acceptance, non-judgement and compassion for yourself.    

To end with guided relaxation or yoga nidra.  Yoga nidra is a deep relaxation practice.  This meditative state has been shown to have many benefits for brain function.

Happy Yogis! With class teacher Dr Bryony Hughes.

Happy Yogis! With class teacher Dr Bryony Hughes.

Yoga for MS, Parkinson's Disease and other Neurological Conditions is on Fridays 11am-12pm at Fix Studio, London Fields.  For more information, please do get in touch by email (,  I am always happy to answer any questions about the class before you attend. 

You can book online here, or check out Bryony’s bio for more details.


FIX STUDIO is now open for group classes, workshops, teacher trainings and 1:1 movement sessions.


Nestled just next to our London Fields clinic, FIX STUDIO will offer a safe and accessible space for the highest quality, clinically informed yoga, Pilates and movement therapies.

We’ve put together some thoroughly tempting opening offers to whet your appetite this Autumn. These will only stick around until the end of the year, so…

  • Any first yoga class £5

  • Unlimited two weeks £25

  • 10-Class Pass £80

  • Drop in (45min/60min/75min/90min) £8/£10/£11/£12


We’re really excited about bringing you workshops, teacher trainings and courses in the coming weeks and months.

Hope to see you there soon….

The Osteopath's approach to sports injuries

The Osteopath's approach to sports injuries.

Many patients often ask what the difference between an Osteopath and Physiotherapist is. Many are surprised to find that, when it comes to sports injury treatment, both professions in private practice offer a similar experience. 

Back up and running-Steve Hobbs on recovery from ankle injury

Back up and running-Steve Hobbs on recovery from ankle injury.

Way back in November 2017 (or as I prefer to think of it - a few weeks ago) I ran the Florence Marathon. It rained, constantly, was freezing cold and was hard, as marathons tend to be, and I ran slightly slower than I planned to, finishing in 2h38. But I was delighted. Why?

Avoiding injury with Prehab - a conversation with Luke Selby

Avoiding injury with Prehab - a conversation with Luke Selby.

We've been seeing more and more talk about 'prehab' in movement circles lately so we decided to have a chat with Osteopath Luke Selby about what that actually means and the different ways that we can incorporate it into our physical activities and lives.

Yoga for Cyclists

Yoga for Cyclists.

I love cycling! Whether it is getting around London as my mode of transport, doing a day ride out of the city or a long tour across Europe, my bike will get me there. What an amazing sense of freedom you can have from two wheels and a little leg power.  It is an incredible sport, at whichever level you choose to engage with it at.

Where Pilates and physiotherapy intersect. A Q&A with Michelle Lee

Where Pilates and physiotherapy intersect. A Q&A with Michelle Lee.

Michelle is a fairly recent addition to the Fix family; she joined us in July and is a highly skilled physiotherapist and a Pilates instructor. Today we're chatting to her about where her two specialities overlap, how she ended up in London and what Pilates instructors get up to in their spare time.

Little and often

Little and often.

Yoga is everywhere. Images of beautiful bodies doing headstands on beaches scroll pass on your Instagram feed, women in expensive leggings folding themselves into seemingly impossible shapes, tales of hours-long sessions culminating in enlightenment on the top of a mountain. You know the deal. It can be intimidating, especially if you're not a hugely bendy person and don't have hours to dedicate to your practice.

What do Osteopaths do? A Q&A with Fix East Village's Osteopath Laura Maidment

What do Osteopaths do? A Q&A with Fix East Village's Osteopath Laura Maidment.

 What do you do as an Osteopath?

Hopefully try and help people reach a goal, which they are being prevented from by a physical obstacle or pain. I treat various ailments from lower back and neck pain to headaches and overuse type injuries. I also see babies and pregnant women. My main aim is to get the body moving better and become more functional for what people want to use it for.

The Ultimate Tummy Soother - Gingeroot, Mint and Red Date Tea

The Ultimate Tummy Soother - Gingeroot, Mint and Red Date Tea.

This tummy soothing tea is guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed, unbloated and balance out your PH levels. It’s great to consume it daily -  morning and night - especially before or after a meal.

4 step self-care routine from a Pilates professional

4 step self-care routine from a Pilates professional.

International Self-Care day is all about learning to treat ourselves with love and compassion in order to improve and maintain our health. Therefore, we thought, who better to talk to about self-care than our fantastic and inspirational Pilates teacher, Eleah Waters?

Haul yourself up from the multitasking rabbit-hole: take time out to breathe

Haul yourself up from the multitasking rabbit-hole: take time out to breathe.

Have you ever felt yourself not being able to engage in a conversation without feeling distracted? At some point, each one of us has and we have our smartphones to blame. In the technological age we multitask with such unbridled adamance that it has become common to always be somewhere other than the present moment, enslaved by endless notifications and emails, restlessly awaiting the next ping and buzz from friends or colleagues; meaning all we have left for each act or person we encounter is partial and divided attention.

East London's top water-sport activities to try this summer

East London's top water-sport activities to try this summer.

Improve your balance and strengthen your core by having a stab at Paddle Boarding along east London's glorious waterways. Jason from Urban Recovery will guide you through the key techniques for gliding your way through some of London's most historical regions.