Introduction to my class

My first instance of teaching individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s came when I started working at a local retirement center which specializes in this type of care.  About 20 individuals showed up, and I loved them immediately. 

We are taught in yoga teacher school to not practice along with the students; stick, if possible, with verbal instruction.  This is the opposite of what needs to happen when teaching my students.  Mimicking actions is much more effective than trying to explain positions to them.  We had a wonderful time in our first class, but I was so nervous, I went through all of the asanas I wanted to cover in about 20 minutes!!  We went through them again, only more slowly this time.  I find that with each class, I am slowing down more (because both the students and I are more comfortable with each other), filling the time allotted.  And it is such a joy, at the end of class, so see everyone smiling and relaxed.  They all agree that in such a busy environment, a few minutes of peace and quiet are cherished.

The takeaway from this experience was to show them what the asana looks like; don’t explain it in detail. 

Hello world!

Well, look at me!  I actually have a blog!

This will be a short one.  I am starting this blog because I was encouraged to do so.  I am in the process of putting together a yoga practice that will be beneficial specifically for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  I have done quite a bit of research and there doesn’t seem to be anything like this.  As I learn more about the progression of the disease, and figure ways to better communicate yoga to these individuals, I’ll post my findings here.  This information will be beneficial not only to yoga teachers, but anyone who has contact with individuals with this condition.  Just because a person has dementia or Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a good quality of life for as long as possible.

By being able to better communicate, these students will be introduced to all the benefits of a yoga practice, including increased mobility, better balance, and a sense of peace and well-being – if even only for a while.

I’m looking forward to this journey.  Wish me luck!

Be well.  Namaste.