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Basic Overview of a Class for Students with Parkinson's

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

As your teacher, I envision my responsibility as someone similar to a cartographer and field guide, who provides the map, the tools and general layout of the terrain to be travelled. As the student, the journeyer, it is within your agency to walk the terrain, process your inimitable experience and learn as only you are able and see fit. Cues from your body language and verbal language may mean we take a different route than the one planned, and that is of course a delightful part of the adventure.

As each class and student is unique, describing a class isn't very useful, though I thought I'd try to offer up a bird's eye view of what ground I'd like to cover. Not everything will be able to be touched upon in every class, though within a series of 4 weekly classes, we should be able to dig into a lot.

I picture the class in three main stages, which I will present and offer to you here~

Connection/ Attunement

Could begin on the Ground, Seated or Standing

This period in class is for you to touch in on how you’re feeling- energy level, internal rhythm, sensations in the body. During this time, I may invite you to notice your breath, your voice and resonating sounds, your feet’s relationship to the ground, your spine and gentle movements of the spine. Tapping, brushing, rocking your body may be invited for you to explore. In general, my intention for whatever I’m inviting is for you to step into to a deeper sense of presence, support, and curiosity.

Dynamic Movement/Relationship

Could be Seated or Standing

During the mid section of your class, I will introduce more challenge. Balance, rhythm, agility, awareness of your body weight centres and coordination of the limbs are the themes in this portion of the class. These may be presented in the form of imagery, a body puzzle, a sequence of movements or a mix of all three! My intention during this phase is to help guide you safely to your edge of what is challenging for you, as well as an invitation to dive into the pleasure and joy of moving, despite the frustrations which may arise.

Focused Attention/Integration

Could be Seated, Standing or on the Ground

As physical energy begins to dwindle, we can settle into a stiller, calmer practice which involves subtler forms of energy- memory, multitasking, fine motor skills, hand/ eye coordinations, relaxation. This may be the point in the class where you’re able to notice the nuanced tones of your nervous system, breath, and mind. An example here may be doing some gentle spinal rolldowns while seated, rolling a ball into a cup or stacking and holding small blocks with your fingers.

Many, if not all, of the movements I introduce will have multiple benefits on various levels. If an intention or purpose is ever unclear, I encourage you to ask me about it. There is also the invitation for you to become curious as to how a movement exercise is affecting you, where you feel it- both while doing it , and afterwards. You can always let me know that you’d like to pause to notice how you’re experiencing what’s happening in your body before we move on to the next exercise. Keeping a Movement Journal may support you along this journey, and help you to look back to reflect upon how far you've travelled over time!

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