The Importance Of Building A Self-Care Tool Kit
by Debbie Lager Ward, RCY Student & Volunteer
I started practicing yoga about 10 years ago after my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I realized that there was going to be a new normal where things were going to change in ways I never had imagined. I’ve always been a planner and felt better taking positive action steps to being healthier. As I looked for ways to deal with this disease, yoga was recommended to help with flexibility and balance. I was referred to a great yoga teacher and off we went every week on Sunday evenings to a 90-minute class. It was good timing for us to start doing something new together since we were on the verge of becoming empty nesters. As we both hopped on the yoga train together it not only was something fun that we could do as a date on Sunday evenings, it became one of my magnificent obsessions.
About a year later someone recommended a PD program at Kripalu. The program included doctors, yoga instructors, and a nutritionist. Looking at holistic modalities to heal and deal were a nice addition to of course the set of medications that were necessary. Kripalu was an amazing experience and I have explored many types of retreats for self-care over since our first visit. Although Kripalu is close by and I do enjoy going at least once a year I needed to find a place to do yoga on a regular basis that was close to home. I took a week of staycation in May 2015 and bought a new student special for $30 at RCY. I was like a kid in a candy store, with so many classes and times of days to choose from. I tried many of them and was pleased to find a studio where there was such a strong yoga community. I became a regular student and then a volunteer as a greeter and other various jobs. While I do enjoy trying new yoga studios when I travel, RCY is my yoga home that nourishes many of my self-care needs.
Yoga has become a daily-ish practice and is an important part of how I am able to relax, connect and deal with life’s challenges when they come my way. When I was working full-time with a long commute, I did shorter practices either at home with yogadownload.com or at work in our company’s wellness room. My yoga practice has kept me grounded during stressful times and is my preferred way to exercise and have fun. I enjoy the quiet, calm and connections I have made in the yoga world and am happy to be ayogi4life.
Approximately five years ago I expanded my mind body connection with a meditation practice. Meditation has been a great addition to my self-care tool box on this journey and contributes to my sense of calm during stressful times. It also helps me to live in the present and enjoy many good moments in a way that I never had been able to before. Meditation is accessible, relaxing and has become another activity that I can enjoy with my husband. The changes in brain function have been amazing for us both, bringing more clarity, energy and calm to our ever-changing world of unexpected situations.
As a life coach I work with clients who are looking for ways to manage stress and increase energy. Yoga and meditation are two key practices that I encourage them to explore as we work to create a roadmap with specific goals to improve their well-being. After leaving the corporate world last year, yoga is a big part of keeping me in a routine and connected with like-minded people. When I think of how yoga and meditation have had such a profound effect on my life it is hard to believe that I was 50 when I started my practice.
Debbie Lager Ward, RCY Student & Volunteer