Parkinson’s disease’s ‘ugly stepsister,’ Dystonia, casts her effects on men and women throughout the world. Less understood and less common (one fortunate aspect of the condition) than Parkinson’s, those diagnosed with it may feel more alone. You are not. Rogers Hartmann combines resources, support, advocacy and humor for anyone touched by Dystonia. This recent post on her blog says it all: http://lifewithdystonia.blogspot.com/ If there’s a Cinderella side to these movement disorders, the slipper fits Rogers.
The game Twister often comes to mind when I guide a class through numerous ‘right’ ‘left’ cues. It can get befuddle the most able bodied. And while the goal of the game is to fluster and tumble, yoga is more about focus and balance. Recently, a wonderful yoga teacher asked about how to work around the right/left issue when it begins to distract rather than guide. She kindly told me that she found my response helpful. I share it here with best wishes that you, too, find some benefit in your practice or teaching. Thank you for your question. It’s a good one. There can be proprioception concerns as well as disjointed messages from the brain to the limb (also common with stroke). Cueing from ‘right’ and ‘left’ to something more descriptive can help. In addition to cueing, I’ll often sequence through a series of movements on one side then […]
At the risk of shameless self-promotion, I am shamelessly self-promoting the new, just-off-the-press, expanded book: Revised Edition of Yoga for Movement Disorders. When the first edition released in 2008, very few books — one by my count, and that covered exercise in general — existed on applying yoga practice to the specific needs of those of us with Parkinson’s, dystonia, the effects of a stroke. I struggled to find a guide for my practice that explained what to do to ease rigidity and move more fluidly. I searched for pointers for my teaching on how, when and why to modify poses. I wanted such a book so much so that I filled the void by writing and publishing one. In the time since the original was published, research supports the benefits of yoga for movement disorders. I’ve included reference to some of these studies. In addition, through certificate programs, work […]
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 […]