still on jamaican time… mon

hey friends!

… I’ve just come back from a weeklong trip to Jamaica, celebrating a couple friends getting hitched!

P1030053

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”)!

Kripalu Yoga, Exercise and National Parkinson Foundation Retreat

Earlier this week, I talked about my trip to Halifax, the Canadian Gerontology conference and some family visits (recap HERE). Following this, Monday morning, I got up at the crack of dawn (actually, 3:45am), drove to Halifax airport, and took a couple planes to Hartford Conneticut.

IMG_2101

I then got in another rental car, and pulled into Kripalu. Ahhhhh om.

IMG_2090

kripalu-labyrinth

 

I spent the week as part of “A Wellness Retreat for People Living with Parkinson’s disease and their Care Partners”, sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation (their app here!). This is my THIRD time attending this retreat (see previous HERE and HERE) and I felt really honored to be able to deliver a session on how to be an informed exercise participant.

IMG_2085

The session talked about how we move and where this goes wrong in Parkinson’s.

When the higher brain (decision making and planning) decides to move, it sends a signal to motor cortices which send a signal to the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia determines which muscles will participate and the amplitude of their activity… like creating a “recipe” for movement.

This “recipe” gets sent to the premotor (spatial planning, trunk muscles) and supplementary motor areas (coordination of body sides, postural stabilization) and onto the spinal neurons.

Spinal neurons then activate the muscles (bundles of fibres that contract by sliding over each other and create force) … as the “recipe” dicates

So the basal ganglia plays a significant role in “modulating” movement… and this is affected in PD… showing up as weakness, rigidity, fatigue, coordination etc.

AND, the ability to express an idea is limited with Parkinson’s, since it affects the muscles of your larynx, mouth and tongue (spoken words); fingers (written words or “talking with your hands”); or skeletal muscles (body language, dancing, running, building or fighting).

So, how does exercise benefit persons with PD? Well,

(a)   intensive activity maximizes synaptic plasticity;

(b)  complex activities promote greater structural adaptation;

(c)   activities that are rewarding increase dopamine levels and therefore promote learning/relearning;

(d)  dopaminergic neurones are highly responsive to exercise and inactivity (“use it or lose it”);

(e)   where exercise is introduced at an early stage of the disease, progression can be slowed.

IMG_2098

It was a wonderfully full week, with a great group of 71 participants!

We “Let Your Yoga Danced” with Megha, discussed relationship and communication strategies with Kara Barton, resilience with Maria, PD 101 with Dr. David Houghton, the wisdom of yoga with Aruni and “got our yoga on” all week!

Check back next week, where I’ll discuss some specific exercise strategies I discussed in relation to PD pathology and symptoms. Much love.

Gerontologists and family on the East Coast

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks…

I was at the WPC2013 in Montreal, the first week of October, and recently have been on the east coast for a couple conferences.

The Canadian association on gerontology held their annual conference in Halifax… which, is close to family for me! I presented some PDF research on categorizing dementia caregiver stressors across neurodegenerative diseases (AD, PD, MCI, DLB).

dementia-caregiver-typology-cag2013

The typology shows that different symptoms, lead to different secondary strains (i.e. memory –> role-strain, motor –> constant vigilance) and this varies with disease. The implications of this are that we cannot provide the same support across all dementia caregivers.

I also did a workshop on Yoga for Parkinson’s disease, with a specific focus on application to this population from a pathological and physiological perspective, as well as some issues around current yoga research.

Aside from both of these, I got to teach early morning yoga classes for those participants who wanted to get some physical activity in before the conference sessions. I had a good group of 12 people both days… you know who you are, way to go! Thanks to Moksha Yoga Halifax, and my dear friend Jo, for letting us use your yoga mats! … and for the delicious breakfast date with your cutie!

After my workshop, I hoped in my car and drove up to Cape Breton Island. Let me tell you, the trees on the east coast are so incredibly beautiful this time of year. It was indescribable. The pictures don’t do it justice.

IMG_2068 IMG_2072 IMG_2071

I have a “boatload” of family in and around Nova Scotia (that’s what happens when your dad is 1 of 10 siblings!) and was lucky enough to see: 4 Cousin, 7 Aunts or Uncles, and Nanny … the one and only.  All who left me feeling spoiled and full of love … not bad for a 30hour trip to the Island and a 2-hour conference break!

IMG_2078 IMG_2079

… and then my adventure continues in the NorthEastern United States. Stay tuned. Much love.

world parkinson congress, here I come!

As you read this, I’ll be landing in Montreal-Trudeau Airport after my redeye from Victoria… I’ll grab a coffee and a catnap and be ready to go!

... from Victoria BC's inner harbour!

If you’re around, stop in and see me… or send me an email, I’d love to meet up!

  • Renewal Room Wed 8-9am Yoga with Renee and myself
  • Renewal Room Wed 415-515pm Yoga with Renee and myself
  • Renewal Room Thurs 8-9am Let Your Yoga Dance (i’ll be assisting Megha!)
  • Poster Session Thurs 11:30-1:30pm #P10.07, room 220C
  • Renewal Room Thurs 5:15-6:15 Let Your Yoga Dance (i’ll be assisting Megha!)

 

I will have a full-update later next week… jusque-la, je serai a la belle ville de montreal, a bientot! beaucoup d’amour.

a yoga/wellness retreat for parkinson’s

This past week I attended “A Wellness Retreat for People Living with Parkinson’s and Their Care Partners“. This retreat was sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation and hosted by Kripalu, health living program.

DSC_0310

We attended sessions on integrating yoga and meditative practices into your life.

DSC_0312We learned about disease/symptom management, exercise, communication and care planning.

IMG_1718

We practiced yoga together.

IMG_1717

We learned how to integrate some of this knowledge and make sustainable transformation in our lives.

DSC_0337

And we spent as much time as we could exploring the Berkshires (which was very limited by the rain all week!).

DSC_0327

DSC_0315

DSC_0324

I was so excited to be back and assisting the faculty, thank you to Kripalu and especially NPF for making this happen for me! If you want more information, check out this link or contact NPF. much love.

p.s. read about my Kripalu experiences last year, in Living Your Yoga with Parkinson’s disease!

IMG_1720

Get ready for the World Parkinson Congress

In September 2010, I got on a plane and went to Scotland for the 2nd World Parkinson Congress!

First, I saw a few castles…

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

Then had a wee dram of whisky…

Glengoyne Distillery, Dumgoyne, Killearn  Glasgow

Glengoyne Distillery, Dumgoyne, Killearn Glasgow

And presented some electromyographic data on how the muscles of males and females with Parkinson’s were more active during functional tasks (i.e. grip strength, walking, balance), indicating their muscles have to work harder and they may be more prone to fatigue than age-matched persons without Parkinson’s.

Presenting my poster, WPC Glasgow

Presenting my poster, WPC Glasgow

… and I can’t wait to do it again in October 2013 at the 3rd World Parkinson Congress in MONTREAL, CANADA!

... from Victoria BC's inner harbour!

… from Victoria BC’s inner harbour!

... from West Bay Marina in Victoria!

… from West Bay Marina in Victoria!

 

I’m bringing my passion for Parkinson’s research and my yoga and will SEE YOU in Montreal!

Countdown is on … much love.

happy holidays!

well, it’s official. the holiday season is starting.

we are dropping Levon off with his friends at Pet Pampering (boy, is he excited!!) and Darc and I are leaving on a jet plane. I know a lot of you are travelling this season, here is a wonderful post from Daily Cup of Yoga about “Up in the Air Yoga” – some tips, advice, and practices to help you travel in yogi-style.

Have a wonderful holiday – see you in January! much love.

Christmas morning, Port Elgin ON 1985

Christmas morning in Port Elgin, 1985 (still sleepy!)

neighbourhood santa Christmas 1988

neighbourhood santa Christmas 1988 (a bit creepy, right?)

Christmas 1989

Christmas in North Sydney, 1989 (apparently my only PJs?)

Christmas in Magdeburg Germany 2007

Christmas in Magdeburg Germany, 2007

Christmas in Kelowna 2009
Christmas in Kelowna BC, 2009

Christmas in Port Elgin, 2010

Christmas in Port Elgin, 2010

Tequila Christmas in Cabo, 2011

Christmas in Cabo, 2011

what i’ve been up to lately…

… according to my iPhone…

biking, beaching, snuggling, and caffeinating around Victoria…

crabbing
… aka me sitting in the sun reading magazines on the dock!

camping, swimming and market-going in Salt Spring Island

warpaint, wetsuits, and surf trips to Tofino

lazy beach days and driftwood huts in Tofino

hope summer is bringing you lots of joy! much love

travels & island living

happy summer! it seems summer has officially shown it’s beautiful smile here in victoria and I’ve been enjoying every minute of it!

This past couple months has been full of travels, adventures, and settling down… I’ll give you a sneak peak of what has been keeping me busy…

mid-may we boarded an airplane and partied in vegas with a couple of rockstars…

margaritas with jimmy buffet

elton john!

then near the end of may, family called and I headed east to Cape Breton Island (check out http://wp.me/s1l8Lq-family)

made-in-cape-breton pepsi, the longest flight, and the ferry to newfoundland!

May 31st came and we packed our bags and hit the road… and headed west, all the way to Victoria.

we moved to west victoria/esquimalt… and chose to live here because:

1) the ocean

west bay marina

harbour seals!

2) fol epi/cafe fantastico

best coffee, bread and pastries in the city within walking distance… yum!

fol epi bread

cafe fantastico

and of course 3) anna-banana!

anna and her funny faces

… and it’s been great!

I hadn’t even been in Victoria for 40 hours, when I hopped on another plane and headed to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Home to the Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health.

seattle airport with my yoga mat, enroute to massachusetts!

And, I definitely felt at home! I was involved with a weeklong Yoga for Parkinson’s retreat (June 4-9), run by the National Parkinson Foundation. I left that week bursting with inspiration… so much so that I’ll share it in another post – so keep your eye out for that!

Because my dissertation was still hanging over my head, I went back to Kelowna for a week of WORK, WORK, WORK!

And whaddya know, it got finished and handed to my committee! What that means now, is that I have a couple months to wait, then head back to Kelowna in September for my defence!

the.dissertation.document

And now it’s summer-time…

and my pace has definitely slowed down! In between getting my last 2 papers published, and my last bit of data analyzed, I’ll get to enjoy ALL the island has to offer! Including,

bike rides

seafood

tuna sandwich and seafood poutine at “RedFish BlueFish”

crabbing at sooke harbour

camping

beachfront camping in la push, washington

and the beach (and surfing!)!

Bring it on, summer! much love.

family

there comes a time when you have to choose between family, and everything else. i choose family.

it seems like grandparents are the ties that bind families together, and when we lose one there’s risk of us all coming apart a little. This makes it even more important to put family first and reach out to them with both hands.

Roland family reunion, summer 1995

we lost my Nanny (Sadie Elizabeth Bungay) Roland last week. we lost her smile and endearing personality, her ability to welcome anyone into her home like family (strangers, neighbours, friends of friends, etc.), her faith, her patience with her 10 children (and all 10 of them talking at once!!)/24 grandchildren/19 great grandchildren, her ability to sit back in a crowded kitchen and take it all in, her delicious baked goods (raisin bread, dates squares and butterscotch pie, oh my!), and her unending love for her family that drew us all together.

Nanny & Katie2, 1984

“the kids”, May 2012

she was a caregiver in all sense of the word, especially as a mother and later on as a caregiver for my Grampy Roland, who had Parkinson’s disease. She was a truly inspiring woman and had a big impact on my work with Parkinson’s caregivers. Always putting others needs before her own and never asking for anything along the way. She dedicated so much time to helping others that I wanted to spend some time helping her (in my own way, i.e. researching Parkinson’s caregivers and Alzheimer’s disease).

Grampy and Nanny, May 1991

People are often unreasonable and self-centred, forgive them anyway

if you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motive, be kind anyway

if you are honest, people may cheat you, be honest anyway

if you find happiness, people may be jealous, be happy anyway

the good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow, do good anyway

give the world the best you have and it may never be enough, give your best anyway

for you see, in the end, it is between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway.

– Mother Theresa

much love.

Nanny’s 80th birthday, October 2011