The aim of each class is to build strength, flexibility and balance, reduce muscle rigidity and the grip Parkinson's has on body as well as spirit. The instructor modifies traditional poses, adapts flows and restructures the standard yoga class format to target physical needs, and bring balance to life with Parkinson's.
Each 45-minute class focuses on areas particular to Parkinson's. Supports - chair, wall, cushion, block, blanket - aid balance and reduce the fear of falling. This clears the mind for opportunities to notice areas of strength. Classes include a mix of the following
- demonstration and step-by-step movements with variations (such as seated or standing)
- cues on how, what and where to notice yoga's effects
- relaxation techniques
- tips to try
- ways to apply yoga to everyday activities
Since the class is live, on-the-spot strategies for "off" times, dyskinesia and dystonia weave through each class.
Renee Le Verrier, RYT, is a stroke survivor, certified yoga instructor, author and person living with Parkinson's. Renee specializes in designing modifications to yoga to benefit people with movement disorders. She has taught at Massachusetts General Hospital, for a stroke recovery program and with the Massachusetts Chapter of APDA. The author of Yoga for Movement Disorders
as well as its Companion DVD
, Renee also presents on yoga and Parkinson's at conferences, support groups and yoga teacher trainings. She shares insights and resources on yoga and Parkinson's in her blog
, which Healthline named Best of the Web in 2014 and 2015.
Other books by Renee include a yoga alphabet book, A, B, C,... X, Yoga, Z
and A Treasure Hunt for Mama and Me: Helping Children Cope with Parental Illness
. She wrote the first working with her son. The second was written for him.
Recently from the East Coast, Renee now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, son and the gentle giant that is her service dog.