- Meditation = Concentration (… in actuality, meditation is relaxation of the mind, a sort of deconcentration. if the mind is relaxed, the end results is better concentration).
- Meditation = Religious (… in actuality, it is an ancient practice that transcends religion.)
- Meditation = sitting in lotus posture (… in actuality, a comfortable steady pose – whatever that is for you – helps your body, and mind relax into meditation.)
- Meditation is for old people (… in actuality, no matter what our age, we can all use a little help learning to be emotionally stable and strong, and calm.)
- Meditation = Hypnosis (… in actuality, meditation is an antidote for hypnosis, making us more aware and freeing us from the impressions in our mind.)
- Meditation = Thought-control (… in actuality, the idea is to let your thoughts come and go as they please and become aware of them after they arrive. Be the witness, not the controller.)
- Meditation = a way to run away from problems (… in actuality, meditation enables us to develop the ability to accept situations as they are and take conscious action; building inner strength.)
- Meditation = hours and hours (… in actuality, the deep connection can occur in moments.)
- Meditation = monks/recluses (… in actuality, it gives you a happy and relaxed mind to live your fullest day to day life, whatever that is.)
- Meditation = restricted by time and space (… in actuality, you can meditate any time, in any space. Though, it’s best to do it around sunrise and sunset).
… does that clear up any misconceptions? What are you thoughts on meditation – do you meditate? What are the benefits?
Thanks Bhanu Narasimhan for this great article!
Happy meditating! much love.
… I’ve just come back from a weeklong trip to Jamaica, celebrating a couple friends getting hitched!
bear with me while I get back to reality this week…
I’ll have some posts on meditation and neuroscientists coming up! ya mon (jamaican-speak for “much love”)!
in support of National Caregiver Month (November) I want to share a couple info graphics that really summarize current understanding of caregiving. National caregiving month started in 1997 by the National Family Caregivers Association and began as a week of acknowledgement during Thanksgiving. Now, it has evolved into a month-long celebration of family caregivers!
Take the time to read these infographics and appreciate the contribution made by family caregivers! much love.
In light of National Caregiver Month, I wanted to share some tips from the Parkinson Disease Foundation on being in a “care partnership”:
I prefer to call this relationship a “care partnership” because I believe it is one that is truly reciprocal. As a person with PD adjusts to physical changes and, at times, to changes in personal independence, the care partner must learn to adapt to a different relationship dynamic and perhaps to greater “ownership” of duties that their partner had previously handled.
- Your experience is unique – respect your own journey
- Even though you didn’t sign up for this role, it doesn’t mean you can’t be GOOD at it!
- Have open communication
- Don’t let the disease define you
- Find a GOOD doctor and go as a team
- Don’t apologize for getting a second opinion, that’s taking care of yourself
- Learn about PD step-by-step
- Educate others on PD
- Actively find support to help you manage the day-to-day AND to share your thoughts, feelings, experiences and valuable information
- Discuss future financial and medical plans NOW
- Remember: SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH!
For more details on these items, check out: www.pdf.org/pdf/fs_pd_partnership_08.pdf
In celebration of National Caregiver Month (November!), I want to share the idea that caring for a chronically ailing or disabled family member might be good for you! … what? Really? After all, we hear about caregivers being depressed, stressed, and fatigued…
Dr. David Roth, in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2013), presents his “healthy caregiver hypothesis” and shows non-caregivers have higher mortality rates than caregivers! Thus, we can’t dismiss the idea that caregiving can help increase physical activity, mental stimulation (multitasking!), social connection, sense of purpose and usefulness (L. Freedman)!
Paula Span, of The New York Times’ “The New Old Age Blog” does a great job of summarizing these findings here
! On a side note, I had the pleasure of hearing Paula at the keynote address at the Canadian Association on Gerontology meeting last month (see HERE
and pic below).
… and I love this quote:
“caregivers are among the privileged ones who can make a difference in the life of the patient”.
Don’t forget to hug a caregiver this month! much love.
Last week I mentioned some specific exercises targeted to PD symptoms (see HERE and HERE)… today I want to share WHY exercise is so important for brain health.
New Research out of the Dana-Faber Cancer institute and Harvard Medical School (Spiegelman & Greenberg, Cell Metabolism 2013) shows that endurance exercise, such as distance running or cycling, releases a protein (FNDC5) that improves brain health while promoting the growth of nerves associated with cognition.
In laboratory rats, PGC-1α (which is also found in humans) led to improvements in protein FNDC5 and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF). PGC-1α is thought to coordinate the gene response to exercise, blood pressure and development of obesity.
Exercise stimulates BDNF expression in the hippocampus, the part of the human brain associated with memory and learning. In this study, specific improvements in awareness and memory recall was demonstrated. BDNFs are also responsible for creating new brain connections (neurons, synapses)
So, keep moving! much love.
images from bodbot.com
Living on the West Coast we are involved in surf culture… we spend a lot of weekends among the waves and even gear our yoga practice towards surfing.
We especially support the Surfrider Foundation, Darc is the treasurer for the local chapter and you can often find us on weekends out cleaning up the beaches.
This year the local brewery Phillips will create a special beer for a charity, name the beer after the cause and donate the proceeds to the charity… and Surfrider Vancouver Island has been nominated!
To support the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches all you have to do is click on this link HERE and vote for Surfrider VI! (… and you can do it everyday until November 16th!)
The sea-life and surfers on the West Coast thank you!
… and I just wanted to say that I’m so very grateful for everyone and everything that has come into my life.
sending out 30 wishes to all of you! much love.
… To follow up from Tuesday’s post, here are a few things to incorporate and/or consider when you are exercising…
1. Cues/Attentional Training
Attentional training provides a non-automatic drive for movement scale and timing; what this means is, attentional training and cues MAY compensate for faulty brain circuitry and improve performance.
The ability to move in PD is not lost; rather mechanisms that initiate movement are defective (i.e. corticol control). This can be applied to yoga, where physical performance in persons with PD may benefit from specific external cues emphasized in yoga because they utilize intact premotor cortex, rather than basal ganglia circuitry (Morris, 2000).
Yoga also breaks up complex sequences and/or postures into component parts. Focused attention on individual aspects of postures may improve performance by providing a non-automatic drive for movement scaling, and serves to bypassing basal ganglia circuitry.
… What can you do?
- Utilize visual cues to help coordinate movement (i.e. laser pointer)
- Utilize auditory cues (i.e. music, sound of walking stick hitting pavement) to help you “keep the beat”
- Focus on one aspect of movement at a time, like in yoga, to maintain your attention on the present moment
- Do rhythmic activities, i.e cycling, to keep the pace
2. Follow “brain training” principles
- Your body needs to be ready, your brain needs to be focused and the task needs to feel important (or fun!) for change to occur. Make your exercise engaging!
- Use equipment to get the experience of the full movement safely, then take supports away as you progress
- Seek exercises that gain core stability
- Starting your exercise program with progressive aerobic training, then follow up with skill acquisition-type exercises.
- Increase useable muscle and focus on functional movements in your exercises… not just “curls for the girls” but apply that experience to everyday movements! (adapted from PWR! by Becky Farley)
3. Address Rigidity
Otherwise known as that “cogwheel stiffness”… the inability to get out of a chair
… What can you do?
- Don’t hold postures as long… the can cause tremor or rigidity… try and move in and out of postures with your breath
- Address rigidity and bradykinesia in torso muscles and spine by focusing on deep diaphragmatic breaths
4. Focus on Posture
Stooped posture in PD is attributed to shortened contractile elements of spinal flexors and lengthening/weakening of extensors… the we shift our head forward and tilt our chin up to compensate, creating pressure in the neck too!
… What can you do?
- Strengthen your core *especially your transverse abdominal muscles
- Stretch your psoas muscle… the thick muscle (size of your forearm!) that runs from under your armpits to your hits
- Practice gentle backbends
- Building your posture (more info HERE!) from the ground up, engaging your feet, legs, core, open chest and align head over shoulders
- Check out your posture EVERY TIME YOU WALK BY A MIRROR… it’s not vanity, it’s anatomical alignment!
… So, how do those resonate with you and your exercise experiences?
I’m happy to be home, for now… no more travel… until next week when I head to Kelowna for some yoga and Time Out for Caregiver workshops… see you there! Much love
p.s. I saw this ad in the Chicago airport on my way to Kripalu… seemed appropriate