August 24, 2012

Sir Thomas

Check out the new guy in town:
September 7, 2012

Yielding on My Way to Yoga

On my way to morning class, I stopped to move a turtle out of the middle of the street, swerved to avoid a swooping hawk, and drove past a couple out walking who appeared not to be enjoying each other’s company. A witness to these moments of exploration and resistance seemed so related to yoga.  A haiku formed in time write it down and share with the class: Turtle, hawk, human One crosses road, one a field The other, his arms    
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 […]
November 23, 2012

It’s a Miracle

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” – A. Einstein In this season of lists, must-do’s, purchases, I listen for bells. From the Salvation Army ringers to the sh-shing of a cash register, these familiar sounds can be our guides to stop for a moment. To take a breath. How yogic. How necessary when living with PD. In “Peace Is Every Step,” Thich Nhat Hanh suggests we use the sound of bells to remind us to notice. To stop for a moment, take a breath and notice all the little miracles. Let the microwave beep, an elevator ding, someone’s car-locking beep all feed into this pool of reminders. Tis the season of bells and miracles.    
December 8, 2012

Yoga Mudra Plus One

Move over Mudras, there’s another to add to your list. In yoga, Asanas are poses we move our bodies into to energize or trigger relaxation. The Mudras are gestures that, in unison with the breath, also balance our energy.  Mudras are like yoga with our hands. From Anjali Mudra to Varaha Mudra, the gestures each involve touch. Whether it’s the tips of fingers pressed into one another, knuckles making contact or the back of the hand against a palm, each has a positive effect on our mood and on clearing our minds. For those of us with movement disorders, the full-body experience of yoga may be daunting at times when meds are waning or fatigue takes over. Or, it’s simply one of those off days. That’s when the Mudras can be particularly beneficial.  We need only to breathe and place our fingers in various positions to reap the calming or […]
March 7, 2013

When I Grow Up

As a kid, whenever an adult asked me what I wanted to be, I answered – much to my mother’s dismay – A jockey. I, with Secretariat’s victories taped to every inch of my bedroom walls, envisioned my future filled with checkered silk jerseys atop a thoroughbred. My mother, an avid reader, had a more literary career in mind for me, snug in a button-down sweater surrounded by books. Neither of us would have pictured the grown-up me in leggings on a yoga mat. Could they be any more different: racetrack, library, studio?  Plot them out and they’d be separate points on a triangle, equally distant from each other in every way. There are, however, similarities: None are get-rich-quick life choices. Each means no need for expensive suits or uncomfortable shoes. All can be done during regular hours without ever having to be on call. The three derive from one common […]
April 28, 2013

Group Hug

“A hug is a universal medicine, it is how we handshake from the heart.” –Anonymous     I propose that Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month closes with a hug.      Hug family, friends, dogs, friend’s dogs. Consider the benefits. Studies show that hugs lower blood pressure, increase levels of hormones that trigger happy states of being and reduce the affects of  stress. In the average embrace, both huggers lean toward each other: O O /= =\ When the average embrace ends (determined, typically silently, by both participants), both return to upright and part: O O |    | Happy hormones for all. Except for those of us with a movement disorder; the research clearly did not include in their trials people living with PD. When someone raises both arms and leans toward me for an embrace, my state of being turns to fear. I’m not entirely steady (physically, that is) […]
May 9, 2013

Teacher Training Smile

It brings a big, goofy — though intensely genuine — smile to recall the recent yoga teacher training at TriYoga Boston.  I sense — no, I know — that each one of the individuals there signed up not simply for the certification but because their hearts led them to the program. Their hearts then led them back home to places around the U.S. to spread newfound knowledge and understanding of how to match the needs of students with Parkinson’s. This adds a glow to my big, goofy, intensely genuine smile. At the time, we were halfway into the program when the news of the marathon tragedy pierced the peace of the yoga studio. My thought then still holds true: Humanity shone despite all that shattered that Monday. I can genuinely smile as I breathe in the memory of a compassionate circle of people who gathered at TriYoga for the sole […]
June 6, 2013

Bad Yoga. Bad.

E. W. Jackson is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia. According to the Huffington Post, his agenda items include yoga warnings: Yoga may leave unsuspecting people vulnerable to satanic possession…. In a post for the National Review on Wednesday, Betsy Woodruff highlighted some quotes from Jackson’s 2008 book Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life: Making Your Dreams Come True. Among them was one about the hazards of yoga. “When one hears the word meditation, it conjures an image of Maharishi Yoga talking about finding a mantra and striving for nirvana,” Jackson wrote in his book, according to Woodruff. “The purpose of such meditation is to empty oneself. [Satan] is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it. Beware of systems of spirituality which tell you to empty yourself. You will end up filled with something you probably do not want.” So THAT’S where I got Parkinson’s. Stoopid, […]
July 16, 2013

Kid’s Yoga

It’s not really yoga, but it is an example of opening up to how one can, as B. K. S. Iyengar says, endure what we cannot cure:  NEW! For Kids: “A Treasure Hunt for Mama and Me is an excellent example of offering ways a child can work to adapt to and accept a parent’s chronic or serious illness.” – Midwest Book Review   “For families coping with parental illness such as Parkinson’s, this is a very enjoyable and helpful read.” – Cathi Thomas, MS, RN Small Horizons (an imprint of New Horizons Press) Ages 5 up $9.95               Available at your local bookstore or on Amazon