New Resource Puts Parkinson’s Disease on the Defense

The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is not an easy one. The Parkinson’s Playbook is a complete resource for Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers, providing them with the knowledge needed to proactively defend themselves against the progression of Parkinson’s disease with energy, vitality, and confidence.

Author and Parkinson’s patient Robert Smith has prepared an enlightening and engaging guide to help tackle Parkinson’s head on, including a pro-active offense of lifestyle improvements and defensive measures including cutting-edge medications and natural healing techniques. Continue reading

Yoga Meditation Tips for Beginners

Yoga offers meditation and controlled breathing techniques that can be used effectively to manage the pain, relax your mind and body, and refocus your thoughts. Meditating for only a few minutes each day can help.

 

Here are some quick tips for meditation beginners:

 

— Take the time to stretch out first. Loosening muscles and tendons before beginning allows you to sit or lie down more comfortably.

— Make it a formal practice by setting aside a specific time and place to devote to your meditation.

— Focus on your breathing. Slowing your breathing helps your mind and body to relax and prepare for meditation.

— Meditate in the morning. It is usually quieter in the morning, and your mind has not yet had the chance to get cluttered. It will also help work out any kinks in your body from sleeping. And it’s always great to start your day with focus!

— Find a time and place to meditate where you will not be disturbed.

— Enlist the help of instructional videos or calming music if they help you relax more.

— Light a candle and use it as a focal point, instead of closing your eyes. Focusing on the light causes you to strengthen your attention.

— Be aware of your body and how it feels in both its normal and relaxed states, and embrace the differences.

— Experiment with different types of meditation and different positions. You won’t know which methods work best for you until you try them.

— Have a purpose behind your meditation, such as pain management or feeling more focused on a specific issue you must deal with.

— Push aside any feelings of doubt, frustration, and stress about whether or not you are doing it right. It is counterproductive to your meditation.

— Relax and relish in your mind’s incredible ability to focus and care for your body through meditation.

— Remember your meditation and breathing techniques throughout the day. A few well-placed cleansing breaths will do wonders for your mind and body.

Reprinted with permission from Gentle Yoga for Osteoporosis ISBN: 978-1-57826-397-4, $12.50 (paperback). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.

Four Gentle Yoga Moves for Back Pain

Is back pain getting to you? Give yoga a try!

Strong and flexible muscles boost the strength of the bones they surround and offer them added protection. Yoga provides a way to strengthen muscles and build flexibility in the back and abdominal muscles that support the spine. Strengthening your muscles also helps improve your posture. Good posture relieves some of the pressure off the spine and reduces back pain. Not only does yoga help you strengthen back muscles, it helps to stretch those muscles gradually. Proper stretching of the muscles is important, especially for lower back pain sufferers, because it decreases the stress placed on the lower back.

The book Gentle Yoga for Back Pain shows how to incorporate low-impact yoga moves – complete with suggested modifications to meet your own needs and abilities – into your exercise routine so you can safely and effectively reap the benefits of yoga.

Try these four yoga moves from Gentle Yoga for Back Pain:

1. Warrior II

Start with your feet together. Take a wide-legged stance and, on the exhale, turn your left foot out 90 degrees, keeping your hips and shoulders facing forward. On the exhale, bend your left knee over your ankle. Your weight should be on the outside of your right foot as you pull up in your inner right thigh. Your focal point will be at the fingertips of your left hand. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Modification: For the chair variation, sit on a chair and come to a straddle position. Bend your left knee and turn your left foot out 90 degrees. Extend your right leg out straight. On the inhale, raise your arms up and hold for five breaths. Repeat on right side.

2. Reverse Warrior

Start in Warrior II pose, facing to the left (your legs will not move throughout this sequence). Position your arms in a “T” position. On the inhale, drop your right hand down to your right leg as you raise your left arm straight up. Exhale and bend your left arm over your head as you bend your torso back, stretching the left side of your body up and back. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Modification: For the chair variation, start by sitting on a chair. Straddle the chair, bending your left knee as you turn your left foot out 90 degrees. Extend your right leg out straight and then follow the arm directions. Repeat on the right side.

3. Bridge

Start on your back with your knees bent. Bring your heels as close to your buttocks as possible. On the inhale, raise your hips up, keeping your legs and feet parallel (you may place a block at a height that is comfortable for you and position it as the top of your buttocks, or use your hands to help hold your body up.)

Work up to five full breaths. Once this becomes easy, you can try bringing your hands together under your body and interlock your fingers with your arms straight and lower your chin to your chest.

Modification: If you are unable to lift your hips all the way, you can lift them halfway or as far as is comfortable for you.

4. Sphinx

Lie on your stomach and bring your forehead to the floor. With your legs and feet together, bring your arms up and position your elbows under your shoulders, keeping your forearms stretched out in front of your torso. On the inhale, rise up on to your elbows and hold for five breaths or more. Come down, take a breath or two, and then rise back up for another five breaths.

Note: As always, use caution and be sure to listen to your body– if the pose becomes to difficult, stop or switch to a more gentle variation.

 

Reprinted with permission from Gentle Yoga for Back Pain ISBN: 978-1-57826-390-5, $12.50 (paperback). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.