Through Patrick’s work with numerous clients, consulting neurologists, and research, he has come to believe that, in addition to their regular medical treatment, a Yoga practice can be of great benefit to those with movement disorders.
As those with movement disorders are all too aware, the symptoms affect one’s balance, posture, coordination, mood levels, flexibility, and strength. This is why yoga is a suitable way to fight against the progressive nature of those debilitating symptoms. Yoga’s physical postures (asanas) promote balance, flexibility, strength, coordination, and even a stronger kinesthetic awareness. This coupled with yoga’s breathing and meditative techniques can go a long way towards regulating one’s mood and state of mind. All this together can help improve one’s quality of life.
Aspects of the self addressed by Yoga
The practice of yoga is designed to keep the body healthy. Stretching is especially important to maintain optimum range of motion in the joints, counteracting the rigidity that can occur with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Moving through yoga poses helps reduce muscle rigidity.
“When we move through life more effectively, we feel better.”
- Lewis Sudarsky, MD
Mental & Spiritual
The physical practice of yoga not only strengthens, and stretches the body, but also encourages mindful movement. Through yoga we begin to move with more deliberate control and awareness of our bodies. “Automatic acts of daily life…are most affected by bradykinesia and learned acts less so.” So a bradykinetic person may have trouble walking smoothly but can still dance gracefully.
-Parkinson’s Disease: a guide for Patient and Family, Fourth Edition, by Roger C. Duvoisin, M.D., and Jacob Sage, M.D. [Lippincott-Raven Publishers: Philadelphia and New York, 1996.]
Some have described the condition of movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s, as being “condemned to voluntary movement”. In the practice of yoga, we develop a non- judgmental, peaceful center within ourselves that helps us realize our true nature as being whole and congruent in all aspects: emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. Creating a practice in yoga helps to reverse the perspective of being limited in movement to think of moving through life like an artist who creates best while working within limitations. It is akin to a Balinese saying: “We have no art, we do everything as well as we can.” So yoga can be a practice for the art of living: developing artful ways of moving through everyday life.
Sadhana (Your personal practice):
Sadhana is a term that generally refers to a yogi’s daily practice. It is the routine that one goes through in order to prepare for the day. In any exercise program, for there to be any measurable benefit and progress you must have consistency – in other words a daily routine. So one of the goals of the program is to create a daily routine that you practice daily. However, boredom is the biggest threat to the success of an exercise program. So we must find a variety of ways to keep the mind engaged and interested in what we’re doing: I like to think of it like a time of self exploration or an art of finding the self. One way to define the term Sadhana is “The Song of the Self.” It is my hope to help you to find a personalized program that caters to your individual needs and fosters the exploration of what it means to be you.
- Physical: Yoga’s “sister science” of medicine and health, Ayurveda, considers movement disorders often to be a result of an imbalance of Vata, a quality of energy in the body. We will work with poses and techniques to bring the body into a more balanced state. Also, as we work together, we will hone in on the particular exercises/poses that address the individual’s particular physical issues.
- Mental: The physical practice can help teach focus in the mind. Also, using meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques), we address the energetic system behind our bodies and minds in order to bring balance to the whole system.
- Spiritual: Creating balance within the physical and mental aspects of our being can also help create a balanced emotional life, thus uplifting our outlook on life. Yoga’s philosophy together with the mental and physical practices helps the practitioner see life more holistically – where all aspects of life are inter-related. We begin to move through life as a practice of balance. Balance and stability can refer to the body’s ability to stand on one leg, the emotional ability to remain “even-keeled”, and the mind’s ability to stay focused. And each one may be reflective of the others.
Contact Patrick here with any inquiries:
- I’ll send you an intake form/questionnaire
or you may download it HERE
- We’ll set up an initial consultation either at your home or at one of the studio locations at which I work.
Here is an excerpt from Journey Toward Mind/Body Integration, my Yoga DVD for Movement Disorders. Contact me HERE if you’d like to purchase a copy!