yoga teacher training

December 5, 2011

Yoga Teacher Training

Dear Yoga Teachers, If he or she hasn’t already, someone with Parkinson’s will attend your class. Or it may be someone recovering from a stroke. Or living with MS. Not only are there more and more yoga students living with a movement disorder, the number under the age of 60 with these diagnoses is increasing. And this growing population is turning to yoga. Ahimsa leads us to approach with compassion, which, considering the yoga teachers I’ve met over the years, is a given. Satya and asteya also influence that approach. With satya in mind, its truth dictates that meeting the special needs of a student with a movement disorder requires more than compassion. Considering asteya, we’d be stealing from our students’ time and effort if we didn’t try to meet those special needs with specialized training. Please consider learning more about strategies for managing rigidity, tremor, dystonia and balance and safety […]
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 […]
June 16, 2012

Parkinson’s and Yoga: Read the Label

A life lesson I continue to learn from yoga is to be present, to be right here with the ease as well as the struggles. The breezy summer days of fluidity and balance – in Parkinson’s, the ‘on’ times – meld my thoughts with the moment. My mind, however, travels elsewhere, away from the bitterness of the icy mornings, the afternoons and evenings that are ‘off.’ When I’m on, my awareness flows as freely as my movement. Off is another story. I might be out at the gym, walking the dog, attending school events when my medication dose wanes. I resemble our pet tortoise: slow, awkward, and behind glass for all to see. When being out coincides with being off, I try to bring my attention to my breath, to the steps of each step. My focus, however, tends to toggle between the efforts of forward motion and a mental […]
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 […]
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