Inspired by Colleen

Our support group, Inspired Women with Parkinson’s in Los Angeles, met last Sunday with yoga therapist extraordinaire, Colleen Carroll.

Colleen Carroll and Jen Heath

We began the meeting with each person naming one challenge she has because of Parkinson’s.  The two most common challenges were deteriorating handwriting and sleep issues.  It seemed that handwriting was much more important than lack of sleep to almost everyone.  What are some of the challenges facing you as a Person with Parkinson’s?  Take the poll below.

According to Colleen, yoga as therapy is a new phenomenon, beginning abut 30 years ago with Mr. TKV Desikachar.  To illustrate that the breath is the fundamental element in yoga, Colleen quotes Mr. Desikachar: “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”   It is the art of synchronizing breath and movement.  When the nervous system starts to get unified, balanced and brought together, we start to behave, breathe and move in a harmonious way.  Beginning with the breath, the goal of yoga is to calm the activity of the mind.  This mental focus gives you the ability to command the pace of your thoughts and the quality of your thinking and to direct the mind in a single-pointed way.   What happens over time is that we replace the multi-level activities in the brain with a calmer sequence of thoughts.

Colleen has a new DVD coming out in the next few weeks called NeuroTherapeutic Yoga,  specifically for people with Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders. There are three breath-based sequences; a floor sequence that can be done on the bed if you cannot get on the floor, a standing sequence using the chair if needed, and a chair sequence.   All can be modified to fit your needs.  You can play all the way through it or choose just one section.

After Colleen’s introduction to yoga therapy, we took our chairs and yoga mats and spent a wonderful hour practicing yoga.  We ended with viparita karanii (legs on a chair), listening to Colleen’s soothing voice leading us through a meditation.  Everyone left refreshed and much calmer.  Thank you Colleen.



Practice Your Downward Dog

Inspired Women with Parkinson’s in Los Angeles
Invites you to

Yoga for Women with Parkinson’s

with special guest

Colleen Carroll

Yoga Therapist • Health Educator, Kaiser Permanent

Sunday, August 14 at 10:30 am

Westside Pavilion

Community Room A

10800 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles
No yoga experience necessary

Dress comfortably and bring a yoga mat or a beach towel
RSVP to by August 10


Giving Thanks

In honor of Thanksgiving, I want to share 10 things that I am thankful for while living with Parkinson’s Disease.

10.   Getting by on little sleep gives us much more time to spend playing  games on our iPads in the middle of the night, while we are deluding ourselves into thinking that these games may actually help our brain cells regenerate.

9.  We can blame our Obsessive/Compulsive behaviors (see #10) on our medications and the non-Parkies will believe us.

8.  Waking up at 5:00 am doesn’t seem so early anymore.   But why am I always late to my 8:30 yoga class? (See #10.   Still playing those stupid games on my iPad)

7.  I can do things with my left hand now that I would not have been able to do if that damn tremor in my right hand didn’t act up when I am trying to do something like eating, writing, brushing my teeth……you fill in the blanks

6.  Living with PD has taught me to be more pro-active about my health.  I keep up with the latest research and always go to my doctor with a list of questions and concerns.

5.  All of the new friends that I have made who also have PD.  We can laugh and cry together about things that non-Parkies would never understand.

4.   Fortunately I have a slowly progressing form of PD, which is controlled by meds.  Better living through Chemistry is my mantra.

3.  Laughing with PD.  When all else fails, I can always blame stupid things I do on that !?@$#  tremor.

2.  Loving with PD means cherishing the life my husband and I have together and making adjustments as we need to when that @$#% Tremor gets in the way again.

1.  Living with PD has enabled me to reach out to others like you, hopefully making all of our lives just a little bit better