Mindful Movement for Parkinson's - A Podcast and Audio Library

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Welcome to the Mindful Movement for Parkinson's podcast and audio library. In this podcast, I offer mindful movement lessons designed to help people with Parkinson's Disease increase ease of movement, improve range of movement, and develop skills for the betterment of quality of life. The lessons are based on the Feldenkrais Method® of movement education, as well as mindfulness techniques such as body scans and guided meditations.

Many of the installments are recorded directly for the podcast, while others are recorded during live sessions (this is why you may occasionally hear me addressing someone during a recording.)

Most in-person movement lessons - such as Feldenkrais classes or yoga classes - cost about $10-$15. I have decided to offer these lessons free of charge, because I want them to be available for people with Parkinson's regardless of ability to pay.

Offering this podcast entails monetary costs as well as a significant investment of my time and attention. If you benefit from this resource and can afford to make a donation, please do so! Thanks very much  -   Matt Zepelin

 

 

Guidelines for Mindful Movement Lessons

In this thirteen-minute installment of the podcast, I give guidelines for doing the mindful movement lessons in a safe and effective manner, including positions and props, addressing issues like tremor and dystonia, and where to direct your attention throughout a lesson. If you are familiar with guidelines from the Feldenkrais Method, you might skip this introduction. Otherwise, please take the time to listen to this so as to maximize the benefit of these lessons.

Brief Guided Meditations

Whether you are just beginning to meditate, or looking for ways to connect to mindfulness in the middle of a busy day, it can be helpful to have brief meditations as touchstones. Here are two brief guided meditations. They both focus on awareness of the breath and body sensations, and anchoring attention in the present moment. The 10-minute meditation also explores bringing mindful attention to common symptoms of PD, such as tremor and pain.

Interview with Dr. Chris Hageseth

In this episode, I interview Dr. Chris Hageseth of Ft. Collins, Colorado. Dr. Hageseth is a retired physician and Marine flight surgeon, with decades of experience in the field of psychiatry. After receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease over five years ago and being dissatisfied with the cost and effects of his medications, he began investigating a wide-range of exercises and holistic bodymind practices. His regimen, which includes meditation, yoga, intensive exercise, and lots of walking, has allowed Dr. Hageseth to control his symptoms even without the use of medications. Please see below for a synopsis of the topics in our interview (including many useful links), which include Dr. Hageseth's personal regimen, the training he is now offering others, the experience of members of the Ft. Collins PD support group using medical marijuana, and the practice of mindfulness meditation.

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Resting Deeply Quickly

These two recordings are from a "Mindful Movement for Parkinson's" workshop in Denver, Colorado on January 17th, 2016. The theme for the workshop was "resting deeply quickly," and we looked at rest from various angles - how to rest from mental stress or exertion; how to adopt restful yet intentional postures lying on the ground, for refreshing breaks during the day; and how to reduce one's effort in movement, letting go of unnecessary muscular work that can cause tiredness over time.

Feldenkrais for PD Study Results

PALM SPRINGS, California — An exercise program based on the Feldenkrais Method can improve the mood and quality of life among people with Parkinson's disease, a new study shows.

By damaging neurologic functioning, Parkinson's disease often diminishes quality of life and leads to depression. 

"The Feldenkrais Method uses easy movement and breath control and flexibility and balance to facilitate more control in the whole body," said first author Lavinia Teixeira-Machado, PT, PhD, from the Education in Health Department, Federal University of Sergipe in Sergipe, Brazil. "I use it in cerebral palsy, autism, and Down syndrome."

"We reduced the isolation," said Dr Teixeira-Machado told Medscape Medical News. "It's very interesting."

She presented the finding here at the American Pain Society (APS) 34th Annual Scientific Meeting. 

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Workshop - October 25th, 2015 in Denver, Colorado

Below are links to four audio recordings, comprising a complete three-hour workshop on "Mindful Movement for Parkinson's" done at "A Living Arts Centre" in Denver, Colorado on October 25th, 2015.

The recordings are given in the order in which we did them, starting with the "Opening meditation" and ending with the "Mindfulness body scan."

The lessons build on each other thematically, and you may hear me make reference to a prior lesson from time to time, but they are also intended to stand alone.

Apologies for occasional microphone static - I was using a new microphone and didn't realize how much sound it would pick up from my clothing!

Interview with Dr. Paul Zeiger

"When you have Parkinson's, everything is therapy. Your activities of daily living - every single one of them - provide you with an opportunity to add a little more grace, a little more strength, a little better body alignment, and a little more safety."

In this 33-minute podcast, I interview Dr. Paul Zeiger - retired professor of engineering, pioneer of yoga for Parkinson's, and avid exerciser at the age of 79. Topics in the interview include: Dr. Zeiger's personal experience being diagnosed with Parkinson's 10 years ago, the use of yoga practice to address symptoms of the disease, teaching yoga for Parkinson's to others, the way the Parkinson's treatment picture has evolved in the past decade, mutual support for Parkinson's patients and their care partners, and Dr. Zeiger's personal walking and exercise regimen today. For more information, please see the website created by Dr. Zeiger and his wife,  Dr. Carolyn Allen Zeiger:

 http://parkinsonsyoga.com

Cardinal Spinal Movements

In this 33-minute episode done sitting in a chair, we explore the four cardinal moves of the spine: folding (flexion), arching (extension), side bending, and rotation. These fundamental spinal movements are the basis on which all of our movement is built - standing up, walking, lifting, turning, and so forth. Clarifying the cardinal spinal movements is a great way to make all the movements of daily life easier and more enjoyable.

The Spinal Chain

Can you sense most of your 24 vertebrae? How much range of movement might you gain if you could? To be able to sense one's spine and its movement is one of the fundamental bases of safe, effective, and enjoyable movement. In this classic 20-minute lesson, we explore mobility of the spine, pelvis, and hip joints - essential areas for balance and strength. The lesson is done lying on the back. 

Interview with Dr. Benzi Kluger

In this episode of the podcast, I interview Dr. Benzi Kluger - neurologist, Parkinson's researcher, Director of the Movement Disorders Center at the University of Colorado Hospital, and all-around great guy! Topics include: Dr. Kluger's background working with Parkinson's, advice for people newly diagnosed with the disease, information about the Movement Disorders Center, discussion of the new Palliative Care Clinic for Parkinson's at the CU Hospital (as well as palliative care for Parkinson's more generally), and Dr. Kluger's thoughts on mindfulness - in his own life, as well as for those with Parkinson's Disease.

Spinal Rotation

In this 38-minute lesson, done lying on each side and on the back, we explore spinal rotation - the ability of the vertebrae to rotate or twist. We also look at how deep breathing - which involves muscles related both to breathing and spinal posture - can increase the ease and range of spinal rotation. The lesson ends with some walking, exploring how healthy spinal rotation can become a conscious part of walking and swinging the arms. This lesson was taught as the second lesson during a Mindfulness for Parkinson's workshop, so it would make sense to do it after having done the lesson "Mobility of the Shoulder Blades."

Mobility of the Shoulder Blades

In this 40-minute lesson done lying on the back, we explore the range of movements available to the shoulder blades. With gentle movement, we try to "unglue" the musculature that binds the shoulder blades into a fixed position in relation to the spine on so many people, thus hindering movements like reaching, carrying objects, and turning the steering wheel of a car. This lesson was taught as the first of a two part series at a Mindfulness for Parkinson's workshop, with the second being "Spinal Rotation."

A 30-Minute Guided Meditation

In this guided meditation, we focus on attention to breathing in the present moment - in the low belly, around the solar plexus, and in the upper chest, ultimately seeking spaciousness from the pelvic floor through the crown of the head. We also look at ways of approaching thoughts and sensations - including pain - during meditation. This meditation was taught to people sitting in chairs, but it can also be done sitting on a cushion on the floor.

Sit to Stand

In this 47-minute lesson, we practice a movement done many times a day in everyday life - going from sitting in a chair to standing, and vice-versa. By clarifying the biomechanics and skeletal anatomy of the movement, we learn how to come up from sitting in a balanced and easy way. This is a great lesson for improving balance, coordination, and strength! This lesson requires a chair, preferably one that is flat or at least that the seat does not incline backward. You'll need to be able to sit toward the edge of the chair. If your knees are higher than or equal in level to your hips when you sit on the chair, put a cushion or two on it to get your hips higher than your knees. You'll also need a mat or blanket to do parts of the lesson lying on the back. Lastly, for an excellent video demonstration of this lesson CLICK HERE.