One of three main yogic warriors, Virabhadrasana II holds a special place in the heart of my practice. This pose builds core strength and enhances balance, a benefit to many bodies, especially those with PD, dystonia or recovering from stroke. More powerful, though, than what this pose offers physically is its manifestation of something deeper, something that grows from the heart: hope. The Pose We begin by pressing down evenly into where we’re grounded on the mat or chair. As the upper body moves into warrior II, one arm stretches back, the other extends in front. An important element of the pose, even when making modifications, is to maintain balance between the opposing reaches. Behind us, our fingertips nearly touch the past, but we don’t tilt into it. At the same time, we’re pointing toward the future, without leaning toward it. Our body remains centered between what was and what […]
I am honored that guest blogger Diane Durkee is sharing this: A WALK TO MY GARDEN I see the stairs and I must go down. Where will they take me? What lies ahead? I fear the unknown. What will I find? What will I see? I know I must go down. One step at a time. There is no turning back From this long downward climb. I’ve arrived at the bottom With closed eyes and clasped hands Am I ready to face my challenges? The future – the past – it’s buried in the sands. I feel a touch, a warm loving touch. A soft voice whispers and I hear “Open your eyes go forward and believe. Continue on your path for there is nothing to fear.” I open my eyes and begin to look! There before me are the flowers and birds, butterflies and bees Beauty surrounds me and […]
One of the more restful of yoga positions, Balasana, or Child’s Pose, taps into an inner peacefulness. In Balasana, the spine elongates and the shoulder blades broaden, sending messages throughout the nervous system that relay an overall calming. I can recall a great number of times checking on my son when he was younger. There in his crib, he epitomized child’s pose. With bent knees supporting his upper body, his tailbone touched down between both heels, an arm stretched along each side, and he breathed that full, rhythmic breath of a sleeping child. Someone with a movement disorder, however, may find this position not only challenging but counter productive. Bent knees can trigger involuntary dorsal flexion in the feet for someone recovering from a stroke. Pressure on the feet of a person living with Parkinson’s or dystonia can result in painful cramping in the toes or plantar area. That said, those […]
My gratitude list continues: Autumn leaves: Especially the feisty ones, rimmed in crimson and yellow but holding onto veins of green. They display their nature – our nature – to resist change at the same time surrendering to it. NEPD Ride Volunteers: The New England PD Ride in support of the MJF Foundation proved to be a smooth 50 miles for Team Mama. The route was lined with good cheer, good food, great attitudes. The teams of volunteers providing much heart and help to the Team Fox riders and were probably responsible for the pristine weather. All in all, a delightful day of riding for a cure. Thank you. Elementary School Friends: As my son begins fourth grade, I recall a few friendships solidifying when I walked the halls of St. Christopher’s. I have the priveledge of gathering with two of the dearest of those friends for a whole […]
“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.
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 […]
Thanks to all for the fun and support at the MJFox Post-miere party! Though we gathered two days following the airing of the new TV series, the Saturday afternoon time made it easier for people to come and celebrate. The Thursday time was late (after 8:30! meds wane!) and it was on a school night (after 8;30! my eleven-year-old whines!) Special thanks to Matt and Alison of Brassiere 28, of Andover, MA, for hosting on a weekend. While people gathered to watch, laugh and share stories, the front room of the restaurant glowed from both the sun streaming in and from the spirit within. As a special treat, Bruce Cook, MD, announced that he’d asked Michael if he could phone us during the celebration (unfortunately, he was in a plane at the time of our event). Dr. Cook is a neurosurgeon and Michael was his patient. Bruce and his wife, Karla, shared a few stories […]
Despite my attempt at a yogic, peaceful approach to life, there are moments when I simply want to haul off and hit something. Hard. Maybe even several times. Yoga helps. But so does boxing. Whether I’m waiting for a dose of meds to kick in, fumbling to zip up a jacket or passing on the scrambled eggs because the protein will interfere with the next dose of meds, the argh moments of life with Parkinson’s disease build up throughout the day. It’s incredible how the frustration dissipates when I take it out on a punching bag. Studies show that exercise is beneficial to PD. “Forced” and challenging workouts such as boxing can be even more helpful. According to the Cleveland Clinic, activities such as boxing ease symptoms and are neuroprotective. Besides the tension release and fitness factor, there’s another bonus. Boxing is actually fun. Seriously, try on a pair of […]
During class one morning, a woman asked if I could define yoga in one word. I considered the array of descriptions, musings and translations. After a deep breath, I answered, “Awareness.” The word-nerd in me smiled at the perfect match I’d made: Awareness. It’s recognizing the moment for what it is. It’s focusing on how we move. It’s aligning mind and body. I was so satisfied with my response that I shared it with other classes, interspersing Awareness tidbits between poses. “Bring attention to the moment,” and “Witness each bend and reach,” plus “Notice the ‘aha’ moments.” So much we can do with awareness! Early one day, my phone chirped its appointment-reminder tone. I checked it, checked the time and rushed to find footwear and brush my teeth. I didn’t remember making an 8:00 a.m. doctor appointment for that day, but that’s what had blinked at me from my screen. […]
I click the Like icon routinely on friend’s Facebook posts or their comments on mine. It’s a rare moment, however, when my internal Like button gets pressed and that immediate, undeniably warm sensation whooshes in and says, Yes. Good. Life is better because that person is here living it, too. In yoga, our awareness opens us, teaches us to step back from our egos and witness the Like in all. Well, I’m not there, yet. Maybe after the election. In the meantime, there are people such as Meg Bernard. I haven’t met her, have never spoken with her, don’t know where she lives. Still, she has a message and such likeability worth sharing. Almost makes me want to staple her name to a stick and stand on the street corner urging you to read Meg’s blog (click to read her blog) and cast your ballot for more people like her.