Just imagine for a moment attempting to simply navigate a sidewalk...during an earthquake. The earth tremors beneath your feet, your body saying side to side, and back and forth. Combine that with just having completed a mud run. Your body aches and your shoes and clothes are saturated and heavy. Welcome to the world of movement disorders.
Facing the daily challenge of degenerative neurological disorders since my late twenties has promoted my to find a non-invasive, physically adaptable and psychologically beneficial method of pain management and intervention. From benign essential tremor (involuntary tremors including the shaking of hands, head, voice, arms and legs) to dystonia (painful, involuntary muscle contractions causing tremors while twisting and locking muscles into abnormal posture) to Parkinson's (tremors with rigidness of body parts and speech), simple everyday movements and speaking have become increasingly difficult. Many people who share the aforementioned conditions generally become reclusive , both physically and mentally. The following has helped me and hope to share these tools with those in similar situations.
Incorporating yoga into a daily routine can help improve balance, flexibility, posture, self-awareness and psychological/social well being. Yoga, by general definitions is the discipline by one seeks to achieve liberation from suffering through union with our own supreme spirit or universal soul through intense concentration, deep meditation, the practice of postures, and by controlling the patterns of breathing. The body postures and breathing techniques help to stretch our muscles, open our fascia and create space in the joints which in turn affects our nervous system. This process allows for the release of impurities within our system and revitalizes our tissues to help purify our bodies and minds. Meditation too helps to calm the mind which affects the nervous system and in turn clams our bodies releasing our stress and anxiety.
There are many styles and types of yoga. Here are a few that I have found most accessible and helpful in working with my own movement disorders.
Somatic Yoga- Connection between brain and motor skills
Somatic yoga focuses on the portion of the nervous system that regulates voluntary movement. These slow/causal movements are generally grounded (floor or chair) and help to center the trunk of the body which aids in stability as on connects to the ground. This style of yoga helps to forge a relationship between the brain, the senses, and the motor skills.
Restorative Yoga- Deep relaxation
Restorative yoga is a style of yoga accessible to anyone at any time to create balance, quiet and restore our core energy. The system uses props and supports that allow the practitioner to hold poses for a longer period of time without strain, promoting deeper relaxation and creating a space for healing. Restorative yoga has a great therapeutic impact during times of illness, injury, pain, stress and over scheduled lives. Restorative yoga helps to cultivate a healing environment in the body by balancing the nervous system all systems’ optimal energy flow; restoring us at a physical, physiological, energetic and emotional level. Props may include, but are certainly not limited to, blankets, bolsters, chairs, blocks, straps and eye pillows.
Chair Yoga- Adaptable and supported yoga
Chair Yoga is authentic, accessible yoga for everyone. The physical poses are modified to be done seated on the chair or using the chair as a guide in some manner. Chair Yoga is an appropriate practice for those who may find a traditional mat class too challenging, and also for practitioners looking to augment their practice with a creative, gentle form of yoga. The pendulum can swing both ways as the chair is also an excellent tool for learning how to move gradually into more advanced asanas with confidence and support.
Yin Yoga- Slow, steady, stretch
Yin yoga is a style of yoga that is characterized by its longer held positions with a focus on increasing flexibility in myofascial tissue and increased range of motion in the joints. The pace of yin poses and classes is slow and patient. Each yin pose is held approximately forty five seconds up to two or three minutes. In some cases poses may be held upwards of five minutes. Yin yoga classes consist mainly of passively held floor postures with a stronger focus on the lower body.
There is a yoga practice accessible for everyone. Come and join us. See for yourself the incredible physical, mental and social rewards that yoga can bring you.
Tina Lavacca is currently registered in the Boundless Yoga Studio 200hr Teacher Training program. She is set to graduate in May of 2020 and looks forward to sharing her path and the healing potential of the yoga practice with you.
Boundless Yoga Staff & Students
We are continuously interested on how our reactions and responses to our personal journeys, albeit travel, adventure, new job, etc. mirror and reflect our social, emotional and spiritual ups and downs. We try every day to apply what we learn about ourselves on the yoga mat to our personal lives. Thank you for tuning in as we share some of those aspects with you.