Body Wisdom Blog

by Donna Brooks

Yoga For Parkinson’s Disease: How Sound Helps Mood

Right now there is such darkness everywhere. Lack of light in the northern hemisphere brings introspection but also tiredness and isolation. And once again, those of us in the Northeast or in various communities around the world take on the weight of deciding what is worth the risk of encountering fast spreading covid.

Yoga For Parkinson’s understands sadness or depression can be part of this disease.

Maybe you are feeling it is just too much. Isolation, uncertainty of vaccine efficacy and lack of definitive treatments for Covid drive add to feelings of overwhelm and can demand seclusion. With that seclusion it can be easy to feel sad, alone or even a certain dread. And this is on top of our usual challenges. Winter can really hinder movement and social activities for Parkinson’s patients during the best of times.

But how do we embrace the depth of this sadness without it turning into depression?

Vocalizing is part of Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease because if lessens stress

As several of you know I lost my beautiful son Michael Brooks on jULY 20, 2020. Since then I have been working with vocalizing – mainly sounding out vowels – as an avenue for letting go of the deep pain and stress I feel. Research is showing that sounds we make – singing, groaning, moaning, crying, laughing or chanting stimulate the vagus nerve.

Not only does vocal expression relieve this tension and heartache but I have found it has been giving more power and resonance to my voice.

Just like understanding and practicing how to stretch, bend, stride or breath properly help you relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s so will understanding the movement of your vocal chords, the structure of your windpipe and pharynx help you speak more loudly and deeply. Even just releasing tension around your jaw and mouth can help you articulate more strongly. And, you will relieve stress therefore feel better too!

Try this Voice Yoga For Parkinson’s experiment:

Try massaging the area underneath your cheeks. When you have softened some of the tight muscles around your mouth try to form a big O shape with your mouth and lips. Make the sound oo and see if you can feel the sound vibrate in your mouth as if your entire mouth were a chamber. Do this 10-20 times ( without straining) and then see if you notice a difference in your speaking voice. It may feel much easier to speak.

Making sound feels great but how do I get motivated on my own?

You don’t have to. I offer weekly classes in Yoga and gentle movement for Parkinson’s Disease over Zoom. You can join from wherever you wish. You will have camaraderie in the safety of your own home. All you need is a computer and a place to be. We meet Wednesday mornings at 10 am EST

The next 6 week series of Yoga and movement for Parkinson’s Disease will have a focus on vocalization.

Best of all the vocalization will be woven into movement so you will not sit still! The 6 week course begins January 11th. You can sign up here or contact me for more information. If you want to come but it is too expensive – pls let me know. Limited financial aid is available.

Don’t let the winter blues, the covid blues or your condition get the best of you! Your own voice can dampen your physical and emotional pain. I look forward to seeing you!