living your yoga with Parkinson’s disease

I had an inspiring experience June 4-9 at a Wellness Retreat for People with Parkinson’s disease and their Care Partners at the Kripalu Centre for Yoga & Health, located in the beautiful Berkshires, Massachusetts.

the Kripalu view

A couple years ago, I did my Yoga Teacher Training through a Kripalu affiliate studio in Kelowna BC (http://www.trinityyogacenter.com/), so it felt almost like a homecoming for me to be at the Kripalu Centre.

I was at Kripalu to help with a retreat for People with Parkinson’s disease and their Care Partners. We had 57 people registered for the week! We participated in lectures held by physicians, yogis, nutritionists, nurses etc. There were also some great in-depth discussion groups, a delicious cooking-demo. Finally we had lots of opportunity to be in our bodies with yoga, tai chi and dance classes! It was a jam packed week!

Here are some things that I want to share as “take home messages” from the week…

1. lean into JOY! make decisions in order to increase the amount of joy in your life.

2. be RESILIENT. resilient people know that have control over themselves in the present moment. However, everyone needs a “choir” full of people to truly be there for you (like a circle of support). Who is in that choir for you?

3.conscious COMMUNICATION. speak and be heard, mindfully; but mostly, lean into listening. have intentional conversations.

4. caregivers should think of themselves as a SMALL BUSINESS. For example, caregivers need to have a board of directors (i.e., circle of support, choir), hold regular meetings, have a mission statement, take scheduled/regular time off to allow respite, recreation, and relaxation!

5. “what do you do to procrastinate?” honour those things that keep us back, acknowledge them, then move forward.

6. move from your CORE. whether it be your physical core (spine, abdominals), or emotional core (follow your heart!). this will keep you balanced (literally, between both feet) and help you lean into joy.

at the end of the week, participants chose ONE thing to bring home with them… “when I go home, I will…“. to sustain this change and those experienced during the week, we were encouraged to:

a) be AUTHENTIC (i.e., change needs to be true to you)

b) give yourself permission to be FULLY HUMAN (i.e. ups and downs, have self-compassion)

c) take it ONE STEP AT A TIME (i.e. doing and integrating one thing opens yourself up to other positive changes)

d) start IMMEDIATELY (i.e integrate the change right away!)

e) take it ONE DAY AT A TIME (*remember; resilient people are in control of themselves in the PRESENT moment).

Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles.

If you are interested in being involved in the next session you can find out more information here: http://kripalu.org/healthy_living/806/… hope to see you there!

 I’m so grateful to the National Parkinson Foundation, Kripalu, and the amazing participants for being involved in this inspiring week, uniting movement-mind-breath for wellness in persons living with Parkinson’s disease.

jai bhagwan, namaste.

Advertisements

feel JOY

Tomorrow I start my next Parkinson’s yoga series, and I can’t wait to get back to Moksha Yoga Kelowna with the returning students and new faces that have signed up. I’m feeling the love!

And what better way to celebrate than with breath of joy!

This deep breathing exercise (pranayama) brings energy (and joy!) to your practice, as well as works on coordination, allowing the breath and movement to work together in one fluid motion. Amy Weintraub author of Yoga for Depression says: “(this) breathing exercise can sweep away cobwebs of lethargy and bring more energy into your life.”

Benefits

  • first inhalation (arms forward) encourages diaphragmatic breathing
  • second inhalation (arms to the side) encourages thoracic breathing
  • third inhalation (arms up) encourages clavicular breathing
  • allows deep and complete exhalation at the end
  • energizes the entire body
  • strengthens arms and shoulders
  • will make you smile 🙂

Contraindications

  • Because the head is below the heart at some points, you may feel lightheaded. Take your time and relax in between
  • If you have low blood pressure, practice slowly and go less deeply into the bend on the final exhalation
  • Avoid if you suffer from untreated high blood pressure, migraines, or glaucoma
  • Flex the knees to protect the low back

How

I’m going to leave this up to Amy, who demonstrates it so “joyfully”!

enJOY, much love.