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Adapted from "Yoga and Parkinson’s Disease: A Journey to Health and Healing"

The Benefits of Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease

by Peggy van Hulsteyn and Barbara Gage

If you have Parkinson’s disease and have not yet tried yoga, then the advice is this: Do not hesitate a moment before committing yourself. There is no doubt among experts that exercise is a critically important component to treatment, and no less important than medication and surgery. The practice of yoga can help improve balance, increase flexibility, and reduce stress. Yoga is a simple and relaxing activity that will quickly demonstrate tangible benefits and offers a way of looking at the world that can provide hope and comfort.

The most important thing to remember when being introduced to any new physical activity is to never put pressure on yourself; having PD is pressure enough. The time you spend practicing yoga is to be thought of as a time-out, and the word “should” is henceforth banished. It’s entirely up to you how many exercises you would like to enjoy. You can do 1. You can do 10. Start with the posture with the most appeal. Then check in with yourself. Do you feel like doing more or going back to bed? Start from where you are, no matter where that might be.

Tips for Beginning Your Yoga Practice:

1. Choose a space and time in order to develop a routine

2. Keep a list of why exercise is important and look at it frequently

3. Set achievable goals for your workout and keep a journal of your accomplishments

4. If you fall off track, start again the very next day

5. Reward yourself and be proud of your efforts!

As author Peggy van Hulsteyn explains, “Parkinson’s goal is to turn you into the Tin Man! Your goal is to have your oilcan always ready. Yoga can be that oilcan. Parkinson’s is about rigidity, anxiety, and despair. Yoga enhances strength, stability, balance, limberness, and calm. Yoga teaches movement with greater ease. Yoga embraces the philosophy that this moment is all there is.”

Peggy van Hulsteyn is a PD advocate and 40-year yoga practitioner who has previously written for publications such as Yoga Journal, More, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. She divides her time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona. www.pdhatlady.com

Barbara Gage is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher. She lives in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Connie Fisher is a certified Viniyoga instructor. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Purchase Information:

From Demos Health:http://www.demoshealth.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=9781936303502

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Parkinsons-Disease-Peggy-Hulsteyn/dp/1936303507/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379542527&sr=8-1&keywords=yoga+and+parkinson%27s+disease

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