I was asked to review a book entitled Yoga and Parkinson’s Disease written by Peggy van Hulsteyn. Yoga has been a daily part of Peggy’s life for some forty years, and since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s 12 years ago, she has found Yoga to be invaluable in maintaining mobility, flexibility, strength, balance, and better posture. Meditation, which goes hand in hand with Yoga, is a great way of relieving tension, anxiety, stress and depression, which we all know are major concerns when suffering Parkinson’s. Whether you meditate in the traditional sense, or simply potter around your garden as I do, which is my form of meditation where I lose myself immersed in a repetitive calming activity that I enjoy, it’s benefits are clear to all. Peggy’s delightful sense of humor speaks through the pages of this beautifully written book. The author’s fighting spirit shines brightly, and any fellow sufferer can relate to her amusing comments. The explanations along with photographs are extremely clear and simple to follow, but are fairly advanced and not for a beginner.
I would only recommend this book to those who already have some background and experience in Yoga, or if you are attending a Yoga class especially tailored for Parkinson’s patients, which has the added advantage of a social aspect being with fellow sufferers is of great support, Peggy’s book then becomes a great additional guide. If you have never attempted Yoga before, I strongly urge you to begin by participating in a group for Parkinson’s patients, where you will be helped and personally supervised as you learn the various poses and sequences that are deemed appropriate and safe for your individual needs. When it comes to any sport or exercise, make sure you consult with a professional, whether it be your family doctor, physiotherapist or neurologist, for the aim is not to participate in something unsafe and may cause harm, but to improve your quality of life.
About Elaine Benton
An author and international public speaker, Elaine was first diagnosed at the age of five with Gaucher disease; a rare chronic inherited disorder caused by a genetic mutation, for which there is no cure. At the age of 44, she was dealt a second blow being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. As her life rapidly changed, she began to write poems expressing what so many sufferers were going through but unable to put into words. With the desire to help others in the same situation, a book was born. Feeling she had something unique to offer, she started writing a daily blog, touching on varied topics all relating to living with chronic disease. Her aim is to educate and inform, bringing greater awareness to the general public. Elaine is turning her hardships into something of value and purpose, contributing to society.