There are plenty of moments with this disease that leave me cold – the ‘off’ times, the exhaustion that can come unannounced, deciding on a menu item based on its protein content and/or whether I’ll need to use a knife to eat it. And then there are moments filled with warmth. The sharing and caring that took place at the Spirited Movement retreat held just such moments. Thank you for your stories, from mountain peaks to a love of the sea. I heard such heart behind each, such hope. On days with few breaks in the rain, when I can feel the weight of the overcast sky in my body and my spirit, I can still reach up in my morning yoga routine. Beyond the clouds is that heart and hope, that warmth that reminds me that the sun is always there. Is it any surprise that it shone so […]
If you haven’t already checked out the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Research Center, please do: www.maprc.com The Center offers a variety of courses as well as diagnostic and therapeutic sessions along with the latest in research trials and results. The Center is located in Phoenix, AZ. I know I’ll be on the lookout for an excuse to visit Phoenix so I can stop in there. I’d love to hear from anyone who has been to the Center.
I’ve signed up – correction: We’ve signed up. Captain Papa, me, and a turbo-charged seven-year-old as the rear stoker are riding in the New England Parkinson’s Ride in Old Orchard Beach in September. “Fred” is the name my son dubbed the triple – our three-seater bicycle that lets the family travel together. And together we will be for 50 miles, raising awareness and raising funds for the Michael J Fox Foundation, where 100% of the proceeds go to finding treatments and a cure. I love cycling. I love that studies have shown that tandem riding benefits people with PD. I love Maine in September. I love that I can do something to contribute to the MJFox Foundation. But most of all, I love that Team Mama is doing this together as a family, not for me but with me. http://www.limyoga.com/parkinsons_ride.html for more info or to make a pledge.
I’ve been running. Not running around or running errands, simply running. The loops are short — a mile — and through the woods. This has double advantage of softer ground and no witnesses. I won’t be trying out for a marathon anytime soon. But that’s okay. I’m not training for a race, unless the battle to stay ahead of this disease counts. I don’t need to know if I’m bettering my time with each jaunt. What’s so wonderfully surprising – besides the fact that I can actually, physically, run – is how centering it is. It’s as though I’m moving through an unnamed asana, the Deer Flow or the Winged Warrior. Some primordial sense kicks in as I’m making my way along paths of old leaves and pine needles. I feel graceful and strong while I’m out there – hardly like a gimp at all. That runner’s high is likely […]
William “Bill” Froelich believed in me before I knew what I was going to do. I met Bill at a five-day retreat, where there were designated silent periods: during meals, the transition time between sessions and evenings through to dawn. These were the windows of space to meditate, observe, bring awareness to the simple acts of breathing, walking. Walking at that time, however, was no simple act. It was before my diagnosis but well after symptoms had appeared. I was not on any meds. My pace was slow; my fears – of falling, of what was happening in my body – were high. Each step took all of my attention as I focused on the movement and the dips in the ground beneath me. When I learned that walking meditation involves just that, I found it oddly delightful to be surrounded by so many people taking as much effort to […]
I always loved Tigger’s song from Winnie-the-Pooh, especially the end when he stops bouncing and declares, “and I’m the only one.” Unlike Tigger, I’m not the only one, not the only yoga teacher out there living with PD. I’ve had the pleasure of learning about Paul Zeiger’s class and approach to yoga for Parkinson’s. Paul even made Denver news and was featured on the local Fox television station teaching his class. A number of his students commented on camera about Paul’s skill and the benefits they were feeling from the yoga. Like Tigger, that’s a wonderful thing.
A highlight of my recent travels in Paris was attending a yoga class in a small neighborhood studio. Though the instructor’s English was flawless, she taught in her native tongue. All those high school body part vocab lists uploaded in my brain – arm, leg, right, left, breathe. I recognized the words for strong while in warrior pose and solid while in mountain. The very same descriptions that I use. Somehow, though, they held a certain beauty listening to them in French. In the calm of her gentle class, she allowed for moments of self-reflection in and between poses, where she spoke one phrase again and again: Ouvrez le coeur, Open the heart. The repetition wasn’t because we didn’t understand her words, it was because that reminder is worth repeating in any language.