yoga pose modifications

April 8, 2012

Rabbit Pose Modification

Asana practice involves focused awareness. The smiles and hellos that came from others also out on Easter kept me focused and aware during a woods walk. Sometimes yoga modifications happen off the mat.
April 10, 2012

Teaching Yoga

 Teach: to instruct by example or experience It’s no coincidence to me that each of Webster’s definitions of teach leads with a verb that can also be found in the list of definitions for give: guide, cause, impart, provide, offer, administer, bestow The recent Yoga Teacher Training for Students with Parkinson’s reminded me once again of what a gift it is to work with yoga teachers. In the session last week, dedication, passion and a thirst for understanding filled the room, permeating the air. I recall that same sensation in one of the first workshops I attended as a new teacher. For an entire week, the program imparted so much that each inhale was as pleasant as breathing in the kitchen aromas of homemade soup and freshly baked bread.  The close of the seven days struck hard. Like stepping into a vast hallway, the shock hit not in the array […]
April 23, 2012

Parkinson’s Posture, Yoga Posture

April’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month brings out the word nerd in me. A crossword junkie, I savor words with multiple meanings. The bitter side, however, to more than one definition is that it can lead to misunderstanding, particularly in a yoga class. Posture (n) – the carriage of the body generally focused on the spine The term posture is a good example. A subtle shift in connotation occurs depending on context. The standard definition refers to an upright body position.  In yoga, it can be another word for pose, which can be upright, backwards, inverted, twisted, prone. In Parkinson’s, take the standard definition and subtract dopamine to equal the stooped, unsteady forward-lean when standing or walking. Posture (v) – to place oneself in a forced position Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological condition that affects, among other things, balance and mobility. Medications and exercise can help. However, their effectiveness waxes and wanes.  A person with Parkinson’s may be at the […]
July 15, 2012

Right, Left, Right

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 […]
July 25, 2012

Shame, Shame

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 […]
July 29, 2012

Yoga and Stroke Recovery

A student in a class of stroke survivors answered honestly when I asked how everyone was feeling. “Good days and bad,” he said. “Bad ones can get pretty bad.” He explained that certain unexpected losses occurred after his stroke. I listened. I encouraged. I responded in a way I thought was empathetic. In the middle of saying that despite my left-side stroke deficits and right-side Parkinson’s losses, I still — “Wow,” he interrupted. I was about to say that I still have — “You really got nailed!” No, no, I continued. I still have my insides, I said. “Total whammy.” I realized at that very moment how very fortunate I am that despite running out of sides,  I still do have my inside. Some strokes leave a person physically capable while wreaking havoc on thought processes, personalities. But yoga can still help. It engages. It allows. It brings focus, awareness, […]
October 31, 2012

Family Cobra

The New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story features an entire family yoga-ing together. I’m usually a word nerd, reading and digesting the write-up and glancing at supporting graphics. The accompanying glossy picture, however, spoke volumes more to me than the article itself. In it, four siblings and their parents are in dfferent yoga poses, each pose a unique combination of bend and reach. But the image is not one of a collection of internally focused individuals. The photographer captured what unifies them: the synchronicity of that focus. The children aren’t adjusting or re-angling or falling out of position — in the yogic sense nor in the literal sense. Ditto with the parents, who aren’t trying to maintain balance. They’re all fully there, in the same space. Holy cow (pose), when does that happen in a family? No one is waiting for someone else to finish in the bathroom. No […]
March 30, 2014

Yoga and Parkinson’s

Thank you to Helaine of the Parkinson’s Unity Walk for the honor of posting a guest blog. The motto for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk is ‘Make Every Step Count.’  I might add ‘Make Every Breath Count’: Click to view blog post on Unity Walk site:  Yoga and Parkinson’s
June 1, 2015

I’m Back with a Twist

Life happens. Still, I practice yoga. With a teenager in the house (translated: grocery shopping and parenting have shifted to overdrive, much like his hormones), speaking engagements, and an upcoming move to the other coast, I need to practice yoga. Add that my Parkinson’s clocks in at a full decade, it’s no surprise that life has interrupted my writing and posting about yoga practice. The shift in my practice reflects the changes in my symptoms, (which includes less “on” time). During the increasing “off” times, I turn to yoga. I’ve learned a great deal about how the body moves, adjusts, compensates, peters out. I’ve added modifications in classes, slowing not in approach but in this awareness. I talk it through to students, wondering at times if I’m talking too much. The answer came last week after a wordy explanation of a twist. The synergy in lengthening and contracting seemed an […]
September 3, 2018

Yoga for Movement Disorders: Teacher Workshop

Join us! There’s room for a few more participants: Teacher Training Workshop September 15-16, 2018 Whidbey Island, WA Earn 10 Yoga Alliance CEUs For more info, click below or email [email protected] yoga teacher training