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) […]
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 […]
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 […]