Yoga and Parkinson’s
When Paul was first diagnosed with PD, the first two things we did were to read everything we could find about the disorder, and increase his yoga practice, emphasizing those poses that had been most affected by the PD. Both moves were unusual at the time: our neurologist had no informative handouts or pointers to the literature to give us, and persons with PD were supposed to go easy on their exercise, not push it to the limit.
Both moves, however, were natural given who we are: a couple of former professors accustomed to using knowledge as a tool to make things better. And Paul had 15 years of teaching yoga (plus many more practicing it himself), which fueled his great respect for its ability to change the body.
As Paul gained more understanding of what was working for him, we began to share it with others with PD. Other yoga teachers started dropping in, inquiring about how to adapt their teaching to students with PD. Carolyn started a support group for care partners. We built a web site that featured links to some of the latest relevant literature.
We are delighted to see that the kinds of responses that we made to a diagnosis of PD are no longer unusual. There are many more support groups, many more books and DVDs, and many more exercise classes. It is becoming the done thing to counter PD with good medicine, good knowledge, and good exercise. We are happy to have contributed to this change, and look forward to the continuing progress of the PD community in managing this condition.