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'Keep moving': Advocacy group launches special yoga class for people with Parkinson's

Winnipeg founder says yoga is the best way for people with Parkinson's to keep fit.

Founder of U-Turn Parkinson’s, Tim Hague Sr. does a yoga pose Monday July 10, 2017. Tim runs the Winnipeg charity and advocacy group that helps people with Parkinson’s disease live well through boxing exercises. Now he’s about to launch a special yoga program for the same purpose.

David Lipnowski / Metro Order this photo

Founder of U-Turn Parkinson’s, Tim Hague Sr. does a yoga pose Monday July 10, 2017. Tim runs the Winnipeg charity and advocacy group that helps people with Parkinson’s disease live well through boxing exercises. Now he’s about to launch a special yoga program for the same purpose.

Winnipeg will soon have a special yoga program designed to help people living with Parkinson's disease.

Launching later this month, the Yoga Parkinson's program is a new component of U-Turn Parkinson's, a local charity that advocates for the wellness of people who have Parkinson's. The group has already been assisting dozens of patients through boxing exercises.

Using yoga practices to cope with Parkinson's is something founder Tim Hague Sr. knows on a personal basis. Since he was diagnosed nearly seven years ago, he says he's been turning to yoga to fight off tremors, rigidity, stiffness and loss of balance.

"I walk much better because of yoga, it helps me decrease the stress and makes me calm," he said, noting he had been a yoga practitioner even before the diagnosis but it became an important component of his lifestyle afterwards.

"The benefits for me have been tremendous. Yoga really gives me a peaceful and quiet time that I would not get otherwise."

U-Turn Parkinson's takes a holistic approach towards the wellness of people living with Parkinson's, focusing specifically on the spiritual, intellectual, physical, occupational, emotional and social aspects of life.

That's because the majority of people who live with Parkinson's often lose the capacity to care for themselves, said Hague.

"When I was diagnosed, I found out that in Manitoba we had nothing at all to help people live well with this disease," he said about why he wanted to use boxing, and now yoga, as a way of helping people live better.

"This is not about curing the disease. There's nothing medical about it. But we are finding that exercises of this nature help push against these conditions."

The yoga program will be capped at 15 people per class, and the group hopes to start off with at least two or three classes.

Just like the boxing component of the program, participants in the special yoga stream don't have to worry about exercises being too tough to handle, said U-Turn Parkinson's volunteer and yoga instructor Samantha Squire.

"The best thing that people with Parkinson's can do is to keep moving," she said, noting the training will focus more on the relaxing and stretching aspects rather than other strong and deep yoga movements and poses.

The goal, she added, is to help patients feel more confortable in their day-to-day social activities in the community.

"It will make a big difference in their life because at the end of the day, they don't have to feel like the odd one out," she said.

Want to attend?

The first class will be held on July 27, starting 10:15 a.m. at In This Corner Boxing Centre. More information on the program can be found at uturnparkinsons.org

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