Hi friends. I hope this summer you have been enjoying all of the unique experiences this season brings in the Northern hemisphere- the longer days, warmer weather (except in San Francisco of course!). Summer is generally a great time to get out in Marin. Lisa and I had the good fortune of backpacking with some of our close friends into Pt. Reyes National Seashore a couple of weeks ago. What a beautiful part of the county! The nature was wild and largely protected from humans. Backpacking always feels so wild to me. Walking away from your car, with your belongings strapped to your back- there is a certain accountability and freedom associated with it for me. I love the feeling of being away from all of my devices- unplugged, if you will. It reminds me of the importance of slowing down- of having spaciousness and quiet in my life.
Outside of backpacking, I also find moments of quiet in slow yoga, easeful walking and meditation practice. Like everyone else, once my life gets busy these practices that are supportive for me begin to drop by the wayside. I go about my usual habit of scheduling more, working harder and moving faster.
And at some point, I get monumentally fatigued. In these moments, I usually remember to come back to my restorative practices.
What do you do to practice calm and spaciousness?
I am curious about how these slower and restorative practices can be helpful for maintaining functionality in all of us- especially those of us aging and or living with chronic degenerative processes.
I published a blog a few months back (October 2018) with some research connecting movement disorders and mindfulness practices.
Slowing down and practicing mindfulness seems to have a myriad of broad effects.
This concept can be counterintuitive given that we are often trying to speed our movement up when we age or develop a movement disorder. I suspect that both speeding up and also slowing down are important. In movement, you want to maintain as broad a spectrum of movement as possible. And challenge the habits that appear (e.g. if you normally move small and fast, try to move large and slow).
In my own clinical practice I have taught individuals mindful movement practices that had profound outcomes on their movement production.
Selma Lewis, PhD and I co-taught a mindfulness based course for people with Parkinson's and their partners/ caregivers back in the spring of 2019. We heard that people slept better at night, saw positive changes in their speech and movement production. Some participants improved their balance.
I am encouraged and excited by the potential of change that I have witnessed with mindfulness practices and the aging population. Mindfulness behaviors can offer another avenue (outside of the often prescribed vigorous exercise) of functional benefit. They can be used to help recover when you need restoration after a vigorous workout (or lifestyle).
I have the great fortune of co-teaching (with Selma Lewis) another mindfulness class in Fall of 2019 for people living with Parkinson's and their partners or caregivers. Please come join us if you would like to explore mindful movement and meditation!
If you would like to explore mindfulness techniques, please check out the resources in our videos (the body scan and gentle chair yoga on our site). There is also a list of resources in our October 2018 blog.
Happy (intentional) Moving!