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.
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!
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
In this 43-minute lesson done lying on the back, we develop the self-image of the feet, seeking a sense of width from spreading the toes and visualizing width in the sole of the foot. By refining our awareness of the bony structure of the hands, the structure of the foot becomes a bit clearer. After simulating walking while lying on the back, we come up to test out the sense of wide feet in walking.
In this 18-minute guided meditation, we develop a non-interfering, present state of mind, we explore awareness of the breath in different parts of the body, and we use the breath to lengthen the spine. Can be done sitting in a chair or on a cushion.