Donna Brooks is a somatic movement educator and therapist, Yogi, and embodied meditator who has 35 years of experience teaching, counseling and coaching in movement and the healing arts.

Movement Therapy & Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease

MOVE WITH FLUIDITY, REDUCE YOUR RESTRICTIONS, AND STOP WORRYING!

Living with Parkinson's Disease is complicated.

Symptoms create stress and stress worsens the symptoms, and the cycle of being off, worry, limitations, and new challenges can wear you down.

Over time, without the right mix of resources and support, people with Parkinson’s can become isolated, desperate, apathetic, or depressed.

Fortunately… There is hope!

My holistic movement therapy and yoga for Parkinson’s Disease, helps my clients gain confidence and move more easily. They feel empowered to employ these practices in all types of exercises and activities.

Available for clients living in Easthampton, Northampton & Florence, MA and online for clients anywhere!

“Donna offers a uniquely beneficial program, offering relief from the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, as well as strength of mind and body and a soothing of the soul…”

How does yoga for Parkinson’s & movement therapy work?

As well as group and private sessions online, I offer in-person movement therapy and yoga for people with Parkinson's Disease in Easthampton, MA.

Together we work to unlearn the habitual movements of a lifetime, focusing on connective tissue matrix (fascia) and continuous positive tension throughout our body (tensegrity). In addition to exercises that train muscles, we focus on movements that provide ease and support while retraining your brain and nervous system.

You will learn how to:

  • Gain dexterity
  • Reduce pain
  • Breathe properly
  • Move with increased fluidity and grace
  • Improve your gait, balance, and coordination
  • Prevent falls
  • Equalize vigorous movement with ease and relaxation
  • Use visualization and mindfulness for confidence and resilience
  • Stop worrying.

Overall, you will gain new body and mind skills to help you move more easily and safely in your daily activities, from household chores to walking, working, exercising, boxing, and dancing.

How did you develop movement therapy & yoga for Parkinson’s?

For over 35 years, I have been helping people gain insight into their bodies and lives through yoga, somatic movement, and the healing arts.

In 2010, I recognized the power of combining these therapies with the techniques and philosophies from the Mark Morris Dance for Parkinson's, the Boston University Yoga for Parkinson's programs.

For over 35 years, I have been helping people gain insight into their bodies and lives through yoga, somatic movement, and the healing arts.

In 2010, I recognized the power of combining these therapies with the techniques and philosophies from the Mark Morris Dance for Parkinson's, the Boston University Yoga for Parkinson's programs. Now, with over a decade of experience working directly with clients to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, this is some of the work I am most proud of.

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"Every week I take away something significant that improves the quality of my life living with Parkinson’s...

I have been taking Donna’s Movement and Yoga group class online for four years and I don’t know how she does it, but each week she seems to zero in on exactly what I need and I leave feeling renewed. I also greatly appreciate learning about human anatomy and its role in functional movement and how it connects with what she teaches each week.”

J.B.

When living with Parkinson’s Disease, intentional movement is essential to your quality of life.

Movements and techniques that relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's.

SPIRAL BASED MOVEMENTS remove pressure from pain points such as knees or elbows, making your movements flow smoothly and naturally.

THERAPEUTIC YOGA releases muscle stiffening with precise movements.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE through breathing and meditation techniques that help you accept the difficulties of living with Parkinson's, face setbacks with resilience, and create an open mind for new solutions.

SOMATIC MOVEMENTS unwind areas of chronic holding and tension, sending new information to the brain that erases painful movement patterns.

STRUCTURAL SUPPORT finds connective tissue in movement and allows support from visceral organs.

MUSCLE EXPLORATION identifies specific muscles that may not be engaged in movement.

TARGETED EXERCISES increase strength, balance, coordination, agility, motor control, gait, and rapidity in your daily life.

Don't let your diagnosis get the better of you!

With the right techniques, you can significantly improve your quality of life and maintain these gains over time. You can relieve your symptoms, reduce your pain, and feel confident to live life to the fullest.

If you are ready to have some fun and feel better,
I am ready to work with you!

Private Movement Therapy & Yoga for Parkinson's Disease Easthampton or Online

  • One-on-one with Donna
  • Online worldwide via Zoom
  • In-person in Easthampton, MA

$120

Weekly Movement & Yoga Lab Group Class for People with Parkinson's Disease - Online

  • Wednesdays, 9:30 -10:45 EST
  • Participate via Zoom
  • 6 group classes for $145

$145

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"Even before the class was over, my symptoms were practically alleviated.

I had been experiencing a numb prickly feeling in my foot with ankle weakness and tremors, and had been finding it difficult to stand for long periods of time. I mentioned this to Donna at the beginning of a class and she tailored that day’s lesson to focus on foot strengthening and alignment.

Even before the class was over, my symptoms were practically alleviated. In the following class, Donna reinforced the previous lesson and extended the focus on feet. I am constantly impressed by the depth of her knowledge, and by how she is able to lead a cohesive class while addressing each individual’s needs.

I now have greater insight into the mechanics and structure of my feet, and an abundance of strategies to continue improving their function. I am elated!”

JBZ

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"Donna's classes helped my movement, and brought a feeling of camaraderie and humor.

Having Parkinson's disease can make a person feel tired and serious. So often I was feeling alone and frustrated with my condition. Donna's classes helped my movement, but even more than that brought a feeling of camaraderie and humor.

Her teaching brings a smile to my face and gives me opportunities to socialize and form real friendships.”

WDT

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the ideal time to start movement therapy?

It’s best to start movement and yoga therapy as soon as you are diagnosed with Parkinson's. The earlier you start and the more consistent you are with using the techniques, the more successful you will be in relieving symptoms and calming the progression of symptoms.

This work dovetails well with other sources of exercise and treatments.

How is this different to other Parkinson’s therapies?

Rather than simply focusing on muscles, movement therapy and yoga for Parkinson’s disease encompasses bio-tensegrity of the fascia. Tensegrity is the continuous and changing tension spread through the body with our movements and that keeps us balanced, flexible and responsive to stress.

Think of a dancer or martial artist using whole-body movements that strengthen and prevent injuries. This kind of movement is not just for these “movement advanced” people. We all need to claim tensegrity to move and live with optimum health and vitality.

Should I consult with my doctor before I begin movement therapy?

You should always consult your doctor before starting an exercise, fitness or mindfulness program.

What is embodiment therapy?

“Somatic Movement Therapy” also known as “Embodiment Therapy” allows you to access wisdom stored in the body by freeing the body from stress, trauma, constraints and habitual tensions. These tensions are often created by adverse experiences, physical injuries, trauma, illness, grief, cultural and personal habits and even developmental stages that you may have skipped as a baby.

Embodiment therapy involves making intentional, gentle movements while focusing on the internal experience of the movement. This process unifies your body and mind and attunes you to your physical, emotional and mental needs.

Embodiment therapy relieves habitual and long-held blockages and constrictions, creating clarity and helping you make better choices about your well-being.

You will experience being alive, aware and present in your body. A way to think of it is… Embodiment is to the body what meditation is to the mind.

How does embodiment therapy work for people with Parkinson’s?

Embodiment removes the movement challenges and limitations that make Parkinson’s harder. It is inherently calming and unifying of the body-mind. There is also a lot of practical learning of the dynamics of turning, balancing, reaching and walking, and maintaining balance.

It is a kind of moving meditation that offers mindfulness and mind quieting.

Why do I need to unlearn movement habits?

Over a lifetime, every person develops a series of movement habits based on posture, health, injuries, and a multitude of lifestyle factors, including career, sports and hobbies undertaken. As we age, the effects of these repetitive movements become more entrenched, and for those living with Parkinson’s disease, can make movement painful and more pronounced.

Unwinding these habits gives your body a chance to rebalance, creating more strength, agility, and resilience.

What results can I expect and how long do I need to attend?

These classes/sessions improve coordination, dexterity, strength, balance, motor control, gait, and rapidity. They also help you generate the emotional resiliency you need to face this disease. Results vary from person to person. It takes time for the body and mind to get used to new ways of moving better. This is also why it’s important to begin therapy immediately upon diagnosis.

What is a "Yoga Lab for People with Parkinson’s" group class like?

At the beginning we check-in, so, even though this is online, there is friendship, support and comradery created between classmates. Classes are often very relaxing, even when they are challenging. Classes go for 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Participants can prepare by having:

  • Comfortable clothing.
  • A chair where you can sit in comfortably without slouching.
  • Space to stand up and move around.
  • A computer that allows for you to see me and me to see you. 

It’s good if you have personal space and a quiet environment without distractions.

The classes are recorded. If you miss one and wish to take part, you can access these. However, being with other people is one of the biggest benefits of the class. The mirroring effect is highly beneficial for people with Parkinson’s and this happens in a group environment. 

Can I visit you for movement therapy & yoga for Parkinson's in Northampton/Easthampton MA?

Yes! As well as online sessions, I offer private in-person movement therapy and yoga for Parkinson's in Easthampton. 

I also see clients living in Northampton, Florence, Amherst, South Hadley, Greenfield, Whately, Hatfield, Sunderland, Deerfield, Holyoke & Haydenville. 

You are welcome to use your private sessions online via zoom or visit me in Easthampton, MA to work in person. 

Please note that the weekly Yoga Lab group sessions for People with Parkinson's are only available online via zoom.

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"Each week, Donna brings imaginative integrative practices to people like me who have found little help in the medical sector.

Donna Brooks has helped me address a number of difficult health issues, including early Parkinson’s disease and a traumatic sports injury. Prodigiously knowledgeable about the interaction of body and mind, Donna has created a curriculum that offers pain relief and improved body function.

I commend her very effective professional work. I also commend her ability to nurture a community of souls who can face life’s inevitable difficulties with greater clarity and hope.“

Terry

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"Working with Donna has help me to improve my function in everyday life and reduce the chance of injury...

I definitely have an increased awareness of my body in space which really helps me move and function more effectively and with increased ease of movement.

I have really been able to improve my balance while reaching, turning and walking.

I have been able to increase my range of motion and to integrate anticipating my movement and then following through.

I’ve developed a greater awareness of my breath through diaphragmatic breathing and this really helps with stress relief.

I have developed much greater ease of movement and awareness of my body in space.

I have decreased pain through identifying holding patterns and developed new neural pathways for movement.

I have significantly increased the range of motion in my neck, shoulders and upper thoracic.

I have significantly increased my awareness of my posture and have improved my posture.”

K.C.