Everybody who is in a body can DANCE and move – it’s a right we all have

Co-Founder of AXIS Dance Company

International Dance Day is April 29th. Here in Northern California we have Bay Area Dance Week with all types of free dance classes and performances. As Judith Smith, co-founder of the physically integrated dance company, AXIS, says, “Everybody who is in a body can dance and move — it’s a right we all have.” And that is the message of this podcast episode.

Years ago when I held my first dance marathon to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association a banner hung with the slogan, “Dance for those who can’t”

Fundraising event for MDA held in a mall in North Miami Beach, Florida ~ 1978

and that sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth. The AXIS Dance Company has included artists with physical disabilities, commissioned award-winning choreographers and composers, toured 100+ cities, and appeared on Fox TV’s So You Think You Can Dance. Opportunities for adaptive dance exist from here — BORP’s World Dance for All — to North Carolina where Mindy Kim teaches chair dancing.

Leia Cash, a lifelong dancer and educator, teaches adaptive dance classes at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, adults with Parkinson’s disease, and seniors at a residential facility.

 


How Can Music Help Us?

Singing along to classics from my youth definitely has a positive effect on my mood. From sharing a karaoke night with friends to learning about music therapy from a licensed creative arts therapist, this episode explores the healing power of music for young and old with conditions ranging from autism, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease to persons healing from trauma.

Laurel Roth Patton — mental health consumer, advocate, speaker, and writer — and I talk about our different karaoke experiences. Juliane Kowski, LCAT, MT-BC, MA — of Music Connects — discusses what music therapy is and how it varies depending on the client and what they need.

 


Yoga & Healthy Aging: Maintaining Independence, Activities of Daily Living, and Equanimity

Baxter Bell, MD with yoga students in a restorative pose

Baxter Bell, MD is not just a family medicine physician, he’s also a certified acupuncture practitioner and yoga therapist. Together with co-author, Nina Zolotow, they wrote the book, Yoga for Healthy Living: A Guide to LIfelong Well-Being. Baxter talks about his journey and shares insight about what aging people care most about — increasing one’s health span, maintaining independence over time, and cultivating equanimity. The thousands of people that have attended his trainings or follow his blog are concerned about cardiovascular health, brain health, and stress management. Yoga can assist with each of these.

Please check out Baxter’s Yoga & Healthy Aging Blog, his YouTube channel, and his book.

Terms discussed in this podcast episode:

  • Asana: In yoga, an asana is a posture in which a practitioner sits; asanas are also performed as physical exercise where they are sometimes referred to as “yoga postures” or “yoga positions”. Some asanas are performed just for health purposes. Asanas do promote good health, although in different ways compared to physical exercises, “placing the physical body in positions that cultivate also awareness, relaxation and concentration.” (Wikipedia)
  • Savasana: corpse pose; is an asana usually done at the end of a yoga practice in which practitioners lie flat on their backs with the heels spread as wide as the yoga mat and the arms a few inches away from the body, palms facing upwards. (Wikipedia)
  • Pranayama: breath or life force; the word is composed from two Sanskrit words: prana meaning life force (noted particularly as the breath), and either ayama (to restrain or control the prana, implying a set of breathing techniques where the breath is intentionally altered in order to produce specific results) or the negative form ayāma, meaning to extend or draw out (as in extension of the life force). (Wikipedia)

If your interest is piqued, check out these earlier podcast episodes on resilience and equanimity.


Sickness & Grief: Lessons Learned

In the final stretch of fighting the FLU, I decided to explore why my immunity may have been off. It’s a story, a short story, that I hope is thought-provoking for you. 

If you’re interested in learning more about building your immunity, check out this month’s featured book selection in the side bar. For more on respiratory health, make sure you listen to this podcast episode. Check out the latest news about the flu season from the CDC.

If you want a reliable companion while fighting sickness, check out Alexa and the Echo Plus. Okay, Alexa is not a reasonable substitution for a human or pet but she never once complained that I was asking her too many questions.

Not a bad companion when you’re bedridden.


Balance & Falling: The 1st Step

Let’s explore balance and falling. Erica Pitsch, PT, MPT, DPT, NCS, of University of California, San Francisco, talks about the various components of balance. You can learn more about the BalanceFit classes she teaches and here you can view her presentation at UCSF’s mini medical school.

Here’s an interesting article exploring how the Dutch handle falling issues.


New Year Resolutions: “You must do the things you think you cannot do”

What type of resolutions might someone with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease have for the new year? In this episode you’ll hear from several people living with chronic health conditions. Find out more about the role dance plays in Mindy’s life and swimming in Mike’s life from their participation at recent conference panel sessions.