yoga breathing 101

“…something that is really very poorly recognized in the medical or the yoga literature: that moving your joints is one of the strongest stimuli to breathing properly and deeply. There are little movement receptors inside all of our joints, and they send signals that go directly and indirectly to the apneustic center, one of the centers in the brain that regulate breathing.” (Dr. Fishman)

pranayama-breath

Proprioceptors, nerve receptors in the muscles, tendons and joints, affect breathing. Proprioceptors tell the brain where your body is in space (movement of joints, tendons, muscles), speed and direction and  stimulate part of the brainstem that regulates breath, “apneustic center“.

The “apneustic center“, located in the pons (brainstem), stimulates our “in breath.” Physical movement stimulates an increased depth of breathing, “hyperpnea”.

This connection between bodily movement and improved depth of breathing is important for people who have been previously inactive and notice that their breathing does not respond well to physical stresses (i.e. work load on their body). Systematic movements of joints and limbs in beginner yoga classes, stimulate greater freedom and depth of breath… illustrating body-to-brain connection of the proprioceptors and the brainstem.

Just one more reason to keep moving your body! much love.

Other resources:

Tutorial 3-pt breath

Tutorial alternate nostril breathing

Nina Zolotov (Jan 14/14) Yoga for Healthy Aging

Loren Fishmen Can Yoga Preserve Freedom of Movement?

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.

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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!

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

The great work of your life : summer reads

Stephen Cope is the director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living (and who I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to at the NPF/Kripalu Parkinson’s yoga retreat in June!). His book The Great Work of Your Life is a guide to help you on your own life’s journey to find and embrace your true calling, or dharma (click on link to read more).

stephen-cope-great-work-of-your-life

Each one of us has gifts and has to trust in our own gift: “it is better to fail at your own dharma than to succeed at the dharma of someone else“. Bring every action into alignment with your dharma.

We have responsibility to our gift, and are responsible to give it in the way it is called for, and release all outcomes: “do your work with the welfare of others in mind“.

… in the  words of the one-and-only Dolly Parton, “Find out who you are, and then do it on purpose”.  much love.

stephen-cope-great-work-of-your-life

my guest posts on contributors.healthline.com

hey … did you know healthline.com has a new site “Healthline Contributors“, showcasing persons with expertise and interest to share interesting stories or advice?

healthline-contributors-kaitlyn-roland

I was asked to contribute a few pieces, and you can check out all my guest posts HERE … on topics such as;

Healthline.com also contributed a guestpost to my blog on Exercise and Parkinson’s disease, you can read it HERE. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for this blog, or want me to contribute something to your site, I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me at : kaitlyn.p.roland@gmail.com

much love.

enlightenment for idiots : summer reads

In Enlightenment for Idiots, by Anne Cushman, at the command of her editor, Amanda heads to India to write a guidebook on Enlightenment. To her enlightenment is defined as;

“As I understand it, enlightenment is a state of blissful awareness that’s not dependent on any external circumstances… It’s the understanding that you’re not separate from anything else in the universe; the trees, the sun…”

On opening your body in yoga postures:

“Don’t force yourself open… Hear your body start to sing… Your body is made of stories and with every breath, you will learn that the present is made of the past.”

What it is about yoga that appeal to her:

“It’s a feeling – just for a moment – that I belong somewhere, even if it’s just inside my own skin”

She meets people along the way, like an India hotel owner who, despite his business doing very poorly, teaches her about what it means to be happy:

“Oh yes, madam, I am always happy. It is like this: What happens to us in life is for God to decide. But whether to be happy or not – that is our choice.”

photo

Amanda, accompanied by her new-found sadhu friend Devi Das, works her way through India and spiritual teachers, like Mr Kapoor, Hari Das, Sri Satyaji, and finds herself in a variety of situations with the purpose of “being enlightened”; yoga classes, silent meditation, being blown on by female avatars, watching death ceremony’s at the foot of the Ganges, tantric gatherings, at the bodhi tree of the buddha’s enlightenment, and caves in snowcap mountains.

… a fun, summer read that helps you realize that enlightenment is here too, all around you, and everything’s ok. 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.

finding_balance_parkinson's_yoga_workshop

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.

yoga after 50 (or starting yoga at any age!)

“Is yoga good for the aging population? My answer is yes.”

Dr. Loren Fishman recently answered questions in the NY Times about starting a yoga practice later in life. It starts by describing the cognitive and physical fluidity in which Mr. Iyengar himself moves through the world…

“I think Mr. Iyengar is an example of what yoga can do for an aging human. To me he seemed like a man 30 years younger. And, in a way, beyond age.”

In the past, there has been a general lack of information, representation and immediate options out there for new midlife yogis … but they are finally getting some attention (we can’t let the nonagenarians have all the fun!)

dr. fishman (www.cnn.com)

dr. fishman (www.cnn.com)

Here are some highlights!

  1. Advice on how to start a yoga practice after 50 and the best style(s): “find out what your liabilities are … [make an] appointment with an experienced and smart yoga teacher, one on one… chronic conditions are cumulative, by definition: when you’re older you need the individual attention that yoga has traditionally offered.””I believe the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar are the most anatomically sophisticated and therapeutically oriented, but there are many other good types of yoga… Also the former Anusara program is good, as is Integral Yoga… You’ll need a resourceful and sensitive person to get you started, and to introduce you to an appropriate yoga practice that you can do every day. Then, after a month or two or three, you should go back to that person for a reassessment and suggestions about how to progress to the next step. Yoga, practiced consistently, does good things to your temperament and perceptions”
  2. Age-related risk factors: “arteries become more brittle, and are more easily injured… Shoulder stand, plow, and gate pose should be trimmed back… Our sense of balance can also be degraded with age, decreased sensitivity to changes in direction and momentum … proprioception … and less acute vision.”
  3. Thoughts on slowing metabolism: “[yoga] lowers blood pressure and reduces atrial fibrillation and in general calms things down. Yoga [trim’s your weight]… by stretching the organ, the stomach, which will then send turn-off signals to the appetite centers in the brain.
  4. Osteoporosis and yoga spinal movement: “forward bending does produce more osteoporotic spinal fractures … So forward bends should be done only with a straight back, or … lying on your back and raising your straight legs as far as possible… twists appear to be safe, provided you keep your back straight.”

“I think yoga is a perfect match for us as we grow older, because it’s no-impact, good for flexibility, balance, coordination, strength and attitude.” … and it’s never too late to start!

And for more inspiration to start yoga, no matter what your age… who says you can’t start something new in your 90s?

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Embedded-Only/News/Must%2Bwatch/ID/2339274525/

much love.

Some other resources:

NY Times

Yoga Dork