Interview with Vickie Bell
PD Active Yoga Instructor

1. Why is yoga important for people with Parkinson’s disease?

Yoga is a beneficial practice for people with PD, as it helps to: 

  • increase flexibility 
  • improve posture 
  • improve steadiness of gait
  • build confidence 
  • increase mindfulness
  • create community

Through these benefits, yoga can help to improve the quality of life of all of us, including people with PD.

2. How did you become interested in yoga for people with PD?

I became curious about Parkinson’s disease when my teacher and mentor Richard Rosen was diagnosed in the early 2000s. Richard agreed to teach some classes for PD Active in the fall of 2008. I assisted him and soon began teaching them, so I have been working with people with Parkinson’s disease for 13 years now!

3. How can people practice yoga when they’re not in a live class?

I recommend to my students that they choose a pose or two that they find beneficial and work with it on their own, for a few minutes, several times per week. There are resources and videos online, but they are not all necessarily geared to the level of each individual student. I hope to offer some 15-20 minute video content geared to PD students on my website – coming soon!

4. Is there anything you want to share about your experience working with people with Parkinson’s?

Working with people with Parkinson’s disease has made me a better teacher and a better person! I have been called to bring creativity to poses and sequences to make them accessible so that the PD students can experience the essence and intention of traditional yoga asana. I have come to really appreciate how every pose starts with the call for stability as the most important element so that mobility can follow. The PD students have a courage and zest for life that is infectious, and we have learned, laughed, loved and cried together over the years.