February 23, 2010

Yoga Journal: Truth in Advertising

For years,  I’ve been a fan of Gary Kraftsow’s work with therapeutic yoga. I borrow from his books to share poses with students in my classes.  His workshops sound so appealing, so targeted  to my personal practice as well as to my teaching. Unfortunately, they tend to take place on the other coast. Imagine my delight when I discovered he’ll be on this side of the country, offering a three-day intensive for teachers at the Yoga Journal Conference. I pored over the description for the course. While every joint in my body knew this would be a good match for me, those same joints reminded me that three full days would be too much for them. How  ironic that an intensive on the healthy benefits of yoga would be too intense for my PD body, putting my health at risk. Ahimsa, I thought.  Be compassionate toward that PD body and […]
February 22, 2010

The da Vinci Code

The more I dip into my paints and,  more recently,  mark curves and shadows in charcoal,  I’m learning that art is about observation. In the class I’m taking,  I and five other students are sketching nude models. But actually, what we’re doing is observing, noticing light and curves and how parts of the body relate to each other in space.  It’s like yoga on paper.  And, like yoga, I’m learning that it is in the  interpretation that beauty emerges. I came across an article about Leonardo da Vinci. The great artist and observer of anatomy watched people and wrote his perceptions in notebooks.  In one  entry, da Vinci’s words describe people with what is considered today to be symptoms of Parkinson’s: “Those who . . . move their trembling parts, such as their heads or hands . . . without permission of the soul.” Leave it to da Vinci to […]
January 25, 2010

When Life Hands You Lemons . . .

. . . don’t simply make lemonade. Bake. Baking is about creation. It’s about changing a list from flour to nuts into a dessert or breakfast treat. Whether it’s melding butter with chocolate or combining raspberries with ground almonds, the result enhances the finest flavors of each ingredient. Yoga. like baking, is about transformation. This shift can happen in my body when I’m molding myself into into hero pose, or in my mind when I’m gazing at the flicker of a candle. The rigidity in my Parkinson’s muscles lets go of some tension, and the chatter – from fears of future symptoms to frustration with the current ones – empties from my thoughts.  This change, this shift, maintains the essence of who I am – my list of ingredients – drawing out what’s most flavorful. Sometimes, a cool glass of lemonade can be refreshing.  But, making it is less a […]