open your heart : yoga workshop for parkinson’s

Hi Parkinson’s Yogis!

If you live in the victoria area, join me on August 11th for my next yoga workshop for Parkinson’s at Moksana yoga centre.

We’ll focus on targetting the muscles of the upper back and opening the chest. Specifically the postures will help address stooped posture and postural instability, creating more space in the upper body.

Please contact me at: kaitlyn.p.roland@gmail.com or 250.589.2046 to register or for more information.

Looking forward to seeing you there! much love.

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prions & other misfolded proteins : summer reads

A prion is thought of as a protein molecule with no genetic material that can infect, multiply and kill. Prions are caused by misfolded ‘normal’ proteins and were “discovered” by Stanley Prusiner (who won a nobel prize).

I recently read Fatal Flaw by Jay Ingram (of Daily Planet and Quirks & Quacks), “the rough and tumble story of prions, filled with rivals, eccentrics, meddlesome governments and brilliant creatives“.

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As I sat down with my coffee and danish, I started to read about cannibalism in New Guinea and a disease “Kuru”. How appetizing. This book tracks prion disease from kuru (thought to be caused by cannibalism of prion-diseased brains), scrapie in sheep (spongiform encephalopathy), related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), chronic wasting disease in North American deer, and finally to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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The book eventually discusses other diseases that, while not infectious, do involve misfolded proteins; including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s), Parkinson’s disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“punch drunk”) and Alzheimer’s disease.

How better understanding prion disease relates to Parkinson’s disease is in the misfolded alpha-synuclein protein deposits that clump together to form lewy bodies. These invading misfolded proteins have a long incubation period (similar to prion disease), where it can be anywhere from 5-30 years before Parkinson’s symptoms even develop. Lewy bodies first accumulate in the nerves of the gut, travel in the spinal cord before spreading to the lower brain (substantia nigra = when symptoms develop) and eventually to cerebral cortex (which may cause dementia). This migration is thought to support the environmental theory of Parkinson’s and paralleled how cow’s who developed Mad Cow Disease ate infected meat and bone meal, which travelled from their stomach to their brain.

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Investigation into prions will help Parkinson’s by understanding

1) how midfolded proteins have the ability to move from one cell to another

2) long disease incubation periods

3) possibilities of stabilize proteins to make them resistent to midfolding, which may halt/reverse disease progression.

if you can get past the cannibalism and infected animals (sheep, cows, deer), it really tells the story of how science begins to understand disease, proteins, DNA, outbreaks, and neurodegenerative conditions. much love.

UPCOMING Parkinson’s yoga workshop: July 14th

… don’t forget Victoria Parkinson’s Yogi’s, THIS SUNDAY is my next yoga for Parkinson’s workshop!

Join me as we work on postural stability and balance

at MokSana Yoga Studio (#500-3 Fan Tan Alley)

July 14th from 1:30-3:30pm.

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contact me at: kaitlyn.p.roland@gmail.com or 250.589.2046

**For the rest of the months of July and August, check out my weekly blog posts (Wednesdays) reviewing some of favourite summer books … on yoga, nutrition, dharma, neurodegenerative diseases, etc.

Happy Summer Reading! much love.

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.

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

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

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We practiced yoga together.

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

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

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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!

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From research to real life: feel better and sleep better with yoga


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Recently, a systematic review of 16 scientific studies was published on the effects of yoga on depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, sleep complaints, eating disorders and cognition problems (Murali Doraiswamy et al., Frontiers in Psychiatry 2013).

What did they find?

This review found that a yoga program can improve biological factors related to mental health and have similar benefits as antidepressants and psychotherapy. Physiologically, yoga affects neurotransmitters, inflammation, oxidative stress, lipids, growth factors and second messengers, all of which influences mood and emotional well-being.
According to this study, other benefits of a regular yoga practice included 40% reduction in depression symptoms, improved sleep quality and reduced need for sleep aids.
The scientific evidence in support yoga practice on psychiatric disorders is “highly promising” and showed that yoga may not only help to improve symptoms, but also may have an ancillary role in the prevention of stress-related mental illnesses.

How?

Kripalu’s Stephen Cope says “yoga postures improve mood by moving energy through places in the body where feelings of grief or anger are stored… it is an accessible form of self-soothing”
… and since depression is the  biggest threat to the welfare of people with Parkinson’s disease (HERE and HERE and HERE), this makes yoga for Parkinson’s even more important (Yoga for Depression in Parkinson’s). much love.
**Note: The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) says people should not  replace conventional medical care with yoga. Nor should people who practice yoga postpone seeing a health care provider. Patients should tell their doctor about any complementary health practices they use. Anyone with a medical condition should check with a health care provider before starting yoga.

My favourite things: 5 (inspiring!) Parkinson Bloggers Gals

This week is BLOG WEEK… well for me anyways. I want to share with you MY favourite Parkinson-related blogs… and I’m going to start with some lovely ladies…

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  1. Parkinson’s Humor by Bev Ribaudo – http://parkinsonshumor.blogspot.ca. Bev was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 47.  Her hilarious and insightful stories are now published “Parkinson’s Humor – Funny stories about my life with Parkinson’s Disease” available HERE (tweet her @YumBev).
  2. Shake, Rattle and Roll by Kate Kelsall – http://katekelsall.typepad.com. Kate Kelsall was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 46 (1996). Now a shaky accordionist and aspiring writer, Kate’s writing is aimed at supporting and inspiring other people with Parkinson’s to continue activities, extend creativity and achieveness.
  3. Walking my Path with Parkinson’s by Marian – http://marian-pathwalk.blogspot.ca. Marian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006 and is currently walking the path of DBS… and taking us along with her!
  4. Most of Me Gallery by Robyn Levy – http://robynlevygallery.wordpress.com. Robyn is battling both breast cancer and Parkinson’s disease. She is a visual artist, broadcaster and writer… and overall great gal (tweet her @Robyn_mostofme). Her book, Most of Me (available here) is one of my favourite Parkinson’s lit (check out more on her book HERE and HERE)!
  5. Climbing for a Cause by Evvie Heillbrunhttp://climbforparkinsons.blogspot.ca. Another breast cancer survivor and diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Evvie is documenting her daily challenges with Parkinson’s and her lead-up to her trek to Base Camp Everest (she leaves on October 6, 2013 for Katmandu, Nepal)! Go Evvie Go! (tweet her @Evvie6).

These are only a sampling of the inspirational ladies with Parkinson’s blogging out there! So, check these out and add them to your RSS feed and sign up for their updates via email!

BONUS BLOGGER: Terri Reinhart from Studio Foxhaven Parkinson’s and Dystonia Journalhttp://studiofoxhoven.squarespace.com/parkjournal/. Terri’s creativity expresses itself as we follow her humorous writings about her path with Parkinson’s.

… AND did I miss any lovely bloggers ladies??  I’d love to know what Parkinson’s blogs you read! Let me know in the comments below. much love.

Tutorial: Nah-dee-show-DAH-nah

Nadi (=”channel”) Shodhana (= “cleaning” “purifying”) Pranayama is an alternate-nostril breathing exercise.

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The right hand is placed in Mrigi Mudra (a Sanskrit word meaning “to seal, close, or lock up” or “gesture”) by pressing your hand into a fist with your index and middle fingers firmly into the base of your thumb. Stretch out the ring and pinky fingers. Keep your pinky relatively straight, but curl your ring finger slightly; the idea is to “blend” the two fingertips into one.

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  1. Gently close your right nostril with your thumb
  2. Inhale through your left nostril
  3. Close left nostril with your ring-little fingers
  4. Open right nostril and exhale slowly through the right nostril.
  5. Inhale right nostril
  6. Repeat step 1. This is one cycle.
  7. Repeat 3 to 5 times, then release the hand mudra and go back to normal breathing.

Benefits include lowered heart rate, reduction in stress and anxiety. This breath is also said to synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain (oh so beneficial for Parkinson’s disease!) and encourage prana (life force energy) flow.

This breathing exercise is great for quieting your mind before beginning a meditation session, and it is also a soothing practice for calming racing thoughts and anxiety if you are having trouble falling asleep.

 

Try it to feel more balanced and calm. much love.

PS. Want more yoga tips for a better sleep? Check out Yoga for Sleep I and Yoga for Sleep II