There’s a nearby farm stand that’s open year round. During the winter months, root vegetables, with the occasional greenhouse lettuce, make up the bulk of the local produce. But, it’s worth the snowy trip for the homemade soups and breads. I’d rounded the corner from the steaming vats of chowders and stews to the bakery aisle when I saw her. Tiny and tottering, she appeared to weigh in at about the same number as her age, somewhere in the nineties. Despite her size, she was blocking access to the bin of fresh rolls. Instead of pushing past her, I waited. And watched. She examined each scone with such focus, holding it close to her glasses, smelling it, smiling, placing it back on the shelf. She was completely absorbed in the yeasty aroma, the texture and weight of each scone. She had no idea I was there.
LIM (Less Is More) Yoga embraces the old adage, everything in moderation, which is the definition of fourth yama. And the antithesis of spin class. Feel the burn, Push it, Ride it out. Good mottos for building up stamina in the saddle and sweating from every pore. Phrases in a gentle yoga class are more like: Notice how it feels, Don’t push too hard, Take a resting breath. I was waiting for a spin class to begin at the gym when I overheard two women talking about yoga.
I’ve heard it called emotional incontinence, crying at commercials, greeting cards, the mention of crying. This inhibition of the tear ducts often accompanies a head injury, as if there isn’t enough to weep about after trauma causes brain waves to misfire. Long before my AVM burst into my gray matter, I reached for the tissue box. When I was young, Charlotte’s Web set me off. Actually, it still does. Then there was the fire station siren. How I hoped, each time it rang out, that there was a neighborhood cat stuck in a tree not a neighbor’s house in flames. I prefer to think of my responses as, not weepy, but sensitive.
The garden is a mass of weeds. I suspended voice lessons until fall. Cookouts came and went while I sat at the computer. What was I doing all summer? Writing a book. Really. And, it’s about to be published. A plethora of yoga books line my shelves and topple from stacks on my desk. I enjoy them all, some more than others. But each is peppered with bookmarks noting sections that speak to me. Some highlight interesting poses. Others are there for easy access to a phrase that touches on bringing daily practice from the mat into my day. None, however, fully address yoga and Parkinson’s. There’s mention here and there in some of the texts, and there are books that connect exercise to the disease. But when I couldn’t find one that dedicated itself to living your yoga while living with Parkinson’s, I decided to dedicate myself to writing […]
Some pairings go together naturally: dark chocolate and red wine; my dog and her tennis ball; Starsky and Hutch. But when did ‘gentle’ and ‘Parkinson’s’ become synonymous? Look at the local gym or online. Classes, books, DVDs list Gentle and Yoga alongside Parkinson’s and a litany of other disorders, as though slowing down the pace and setting a chair on the mat is an elixir for anyone with a neurological condition. Meet Joe. He’s a marathoner. At 60, he started competing in ultra marathons. He has lived with Parkinson’s for more than 30 years. Chris is a cyclist. He recently rode a century – 100 miles in one day. His route was a particularly hilly one. Doug rode across Alaska solo this summer. Both live with PD; both are in their 50s. Pam dances, David runs. We walk, swim, and hike. Speaking of hiking, the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland is […]
No, these are not new Parkinson’s terms. Nor is it yoga lingo. SSP SSP is my humble anacronym for Shameless Self-Promotion, which does actually involve yoga and Parkinson’s: After many hours filming and editing, I’m happy to announce the release of the Companion DVD to Yoga for Movement Disorders. Here’s a description: Companion DVD Yoga for Movement Disorders This DVD guides viewers through a series of yoga poses and sequences designed specifically for people with Parkinson’s or other movement disorders. The two-hour video includes: Warm-up series Morning flow Afternoon flow Evening flow Sun Salutation Standing and seated variations of each Tips concerning balance, posture, tremor Resource list Expanding on the award-winning book, Yoga for Movement Disorders, this DVD can be used as a companion volume or as a stand-alone guide. The author is a Registered Yoga Teacher who specializes in adapting traditional poses for people with movement disorders. A stroke […]
Sculptures depicting Janus, the Roman god of doorways, show it with two faces peering in opposite directions: backward and forward. In January, which is named after Janus, we do just that. This is the traditional time to be poised in the corridor between old and new, recalling what was as well as watching for what will be. Many yoga poses involve opposites. We lengthen the spine through the crown of our heads and ground our selves through our feet. We stretch up while pressing down into the mat. It is as though we’re reaching our fingertips toward the future while planting our heels in the past. Reflection and planning are necessary parts of our lives, but each day – each moment – is a threshold, an entry, a gate. A New Year of living with a movement disorder translates into twelve new months stretching before us with known and unknown […]
Life is the Sacred mystery singing to itself, dancing to its drum telling tales improvising playing and we are all that Spirit our stories all but one cosmic story that we are loved indeed that perfect Love in me seeks the Love in you and if our eyes could ever meet without fear we would recognize each other and rejoice for Love is life believing in itself MANITONGQUAT
I’m watching a circle of middleschoolers on the playing fields launch into jumping jacks. Such a spring sight – team practice – all that energy flowing easily through the bodies of seventh and eighth graders. I feel myself smile recalling my years on the track team. Wait a second. I’ve been gypped. By the seventh grade, I’d already been in physical therapy for six months. Following a stroke, wind sprints and baton-passing drills hardly came with ease. Even my jumping jacks leaned to the left. Tension takes over and the smile disappears. Sweat beads up on my forehead first, sprouting in spots along the way to my feet. Wait another second. What is this bone-gripping sensation taking over my body? I recognize that I haven’t moved like those kids in thirty-five years. I’m aware that I shifted from gimpy to seriously gimpy with the addition of PD. Anger sweeps in […]