It is with a heavy heart that I post this entry. Just hours ago I learned of the death of my uncle who motivated me to compose this piece, as he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last Monday. My intention was to discuss it with him before I officially posted to my blog. While I am no longer able to share it with him, my hope is that one of you will be able to benefit from it.
Today I will have strength and breath…
Finding opportunities to incorporate yoga in our lives can seem difficult if we don’t maintain a physical practice, when in actuality possibilities continually surround us. For example, I recently learned that one of my uncles has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This degenerative disorder affects the nerves, causing uncontrollable shaking of a person’s head, body and limbs. Not knowing nearly enough about Parkinson’s, I began to research its symptoms and development. An important fact is that it is progressive, meaning that it will get worse over time; typically taking several years to advance.
This one key fact stood out to me and led me to research if a mudra existed that could help with the trembling, as the illness advanced in my uncle. Mudras are hand gestures that allow you to elicit a deep inner wave of power into your practice; whether it be yoga on your mat or the practice of yoga in everyday life. Sure enough, my inquiry led me to Vayu Mudra.
In Sanskrit, vayu means air. Therefore, it is believed that the uncontrollable trembling caused by Parkinson’s disease is the result of the accumulation of air within the body. By practicing Vayu Mudra air is removed from the stomach, bringing the body back in balance.
To practice this mudra,fold your index finger against the base of your thumb and then press your thumb on your index finger; remaining fingers stretch out straight.Hold the mudra until the pain has subsided. Since this mudra removes accumulated air from the body, it is also effective in helping those with arthritis or other wind-based aches and pains.
While a mudra may not be able to stop the progression of my uncle’s Parkinson’s disease, knowing there is an option to put some of the control back into his own hands (literally!), allowing him to regain command over his body, is a chance for comfort in learning how yoga truly encircles us all.
~The divine in me salutes the divine in you, Namaste~