meditation and parkinson’s

July 27, 2011

Roller Coaster Meditation

Studies show that meditation can significantly reduce the severity of Parkinson’s symptoms. I’ve been trying to incorporate more mediation into my day, bring my mind to a place of stillness. The amusement park is not where I’d have started. Then again… There I was, waiting in line for the Yankee Cannon Ball — the vintage, must-ride, 1930s wooden roller coaster at Canobie Lake Park. A teen girl from the trio in front of me commented on a dog across the way. “I love animals,” she told me. “All animals.” She crossed her arms, “except sharks. I do not like sharks.” She shuddered. I nodded as her friend spoke up. “It’s whales I don’t like. They’re gonna take over the world. Seriously.” “That’s why I’m moving to Arizona,” said the third. “Billy and I have it all planned out. We wanna go where there’s no one else around. And no one […]
August 11, 2011

Parkinson’s Poetry

I am honored that guest blogger Diane Durkee is sharing this: A WALK TO MY GARDEN I see the stairs and I must go down. Where will they take me? What lies ahead? I fear the unknown. What will I find? What will I see? I know I must go down. One step at a time. There is no turning back From this long downward climb. I’ve arrived at the bottom With closed eyes and clasped hands Am I ready to face my challenges? The future – the past – it’s buried in the sands. I feel a touch, a warm loving touch. A soft voice whispers and I hear “Open your eyes go forward and believe. Continue on your path for there is nothing to fear.” I open my eyes and begin to look! There before me are the flowers and birds, butterflies and bees Beauty surrounds me and […]
October 3, 2011

Yabba Dabba Yoga

Yoga, the violin, Fred Flintstone and PD, all in my guest blog at the American Parkinson Disease Association/Massachusetts Chapter site:  http://www.apdama.org/site2.0/blog.php
October 16, 2011

Early Thanksgiving

I stepped in to Lakshmi Voelker’s Chair Yoga teacher training class and Thanksgiving came to mind. A specific Thanksgiving, one I shared with a long-lost cousin. Both happened at a similar time of year, when New England shifts from the colors of a sunset to the threat of frost. Both involved months of emails and phone conversations before deciding to get together. The only real difference was the pie. My cousin and I reconnected in the late ’90s, reviving our long-distance friendship from childhood. We hadn’t seen one another in twenty-five years and were overdue for a visit. Since her Florida autumn remained balmy, we opted for a Southern Thanksgiving. I boarded a plane in flip-flops, my carry-on item a still-warm apple pie. Wedged into the middle seat, up in the air somewhere between home and this unknown place, the ease of our past conversations led to trepidation. What if […]
October 20, 2011

Yama This

Mimicry represents a form of flattery, or so I’ve heard. When I discover my writings cut and pasted into other yoga web sites, ‘flattered’ isn’t how I feel. Irritated, yes. Annoyed that pieces — sometimes verbatim, sometimes slightly reworded — appear out of context and with no reference to the resources in the original. It delights me to share the benefits that yoga brings to others, like me, with movement disorders. I’m honored to work with fellow teachers so they can best meet the needs specific to our ways of moving. When the word is grabbed rather than shared, though, my heart sinks a little. Its from being disappointed because the benefits of yoga for Parkinson’s seem secondary to benefitting one’s own studio, web site, class offerings. But, on last check, the yamas – our yogic ways of being – do not list flattery, irritation, annoyance or disappointment among them. […]
November 4, 2011

Haiku Yoga

It could be said that haiku is the yoga of poetry. The art of this traditionally seventeen-syllable piece rests in words that flow into a focused, present, meditative form. The beauty of yoga lies in the mind-body that flow into a focused, present, meditative form. I like to read poetry in yoga class, weaving the heart of the quotation or stanza through our asana practice. Today in class, we created our own words to move by. At the start of class, we took turns around the circle. Each of us listed one word that, to us, represents yoga. We moved through the warm-ups and poses, the adjectives and verbs in the air around us. Following savasana, they were turned into pure poetry: Council on Aging Yoga Class Haiku #1: Fun concentration focuses on opening, stretching attitude Council on Aging Yoga Class Haiku #2: Relax into peace, movement brings serenity pleasure, […]
November 30, 2011

Sign Up

 A beautiful yoga studio sign! It stands, however, on the brick sidewalk outside the door of local clothing boutique. The bottom of it offers holiday gift cards for the shop. The sign struck me more, though, for the true gift it offers during this rushed holiday season: Breathe. Be present. Enjoy. Perhaps we all need a joyous reminder to keep from getting caught up in the next several weeks of To Dos and To Buys. As a person with PD, the sign’s living and being approach helps reduce the stresses that come with this time of year, stresses that can exacerbate my symptoms. It’s a yogic reminder that brings me back into the moment and out of past and future worries. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, may many eyes rest on this sign. Enjoy the beauty, moment to moment.
January 11, 2012

Carry On Discriminating

Despite the challenges that accompany travel when living with Parkinson’s, I still enjoy it. Visiting new places or old friends outweighs the excess baggage that goes with going away. Wacky schedules throw off my meds cycle. My slow-mo body becomes an obstacle that others slalom around. A tremor appears (not typically among my list of symptoms). Worth it, worth it, worth it because the adventure’s good evens out the not-so-good. Except for one hassle that throws off this balancing act: the airline fee for checking rather than carrying on my bag. For most of the travel stressors, yoga brings some relief. I can ease back down from the security line’s rush of disrobing and shoe removal (which we know is a lengthy process with PD) and although I’m crammed into a seat that restricts my movement, I manage to stretch a bit. While waiting at the gate, I find a […]
June 16, 2012

Parkinson’s and Yoga: Read the Label

A life lesson I continue to learn from yoga is to be present, to be right here with the ease as well as the struggles. The breezy summer days of fluidity and balance – in Parkinson’s, the ‘on’ times – meld my thoughts with the moment. My mind, however, travels elsewhere, away from the bitterness of the icy mornings, the afternoons and evenings that are ‘off.’ When I’m on, my awareness flows as freely as my movement. Off is another story. I might be out at the gym, walking the dog, attending school events when my medication dose wanes. I resemble our pet tortoise: slow, awkward, and behind glass for all to see. When being out coincides with being off, I try to bring my attention to my breath, to the steps of each step. My focus, however, tends to toggle between the efforts of forward motion and a mental […]
August 21, 2012

I Dis-Agree

When disease gets defined by playing on the two parts of the word — dis and ease — I cringe.  A word nerd, myself, I often enjoy the nuance of language. But dis-ease feels forced, the meaning stretched to fit into an attitude. Dis-ease implies that the facility with which the body moves and operates lies waiting for us to diss the dis part and get back to a healthy state of being.  As though we have all the control.  As though it was likely our stressful existence that placed the dis- in front of our ease in the first place. This may hold some truth in relation high blood pressure or forms of insomnia. To apply this to all sickness, chronic conditions,  life-threatening illnesses is dis-comforting. Not only does it label a person as being out of whack, it implies that consuming fewer donuts and practicing some balance poses will put everything back in order. Explain […]