Yoga classes provide flexible approach to Parkinson’s

Yoga teacher Barbara Bowra and participant Kathy Deubert with a customised 'downward dog' pose for Parkinson's WA yoga class. Picture: Nadia Budihardjo
Yoga teacher Barbara Bowra and participant Kathy Deubert with a customised 'downward dog' pose for Parkinson's WA yoga class. Picture: Nadia Budihardjo

FOR nearly a decade, people with Parkinson’s have been taught how to ‘downward dog’ by a yoga teacher who was afflicted with the condition 20 years ago.

Barbara Bowra teaches yoga for people with Parkinson’s on Wednesday mornings at George Burnett Leisure Centre in Karawara.

Ms Bowra said she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1998 and started teaching the Parkinson’s WA yoga class to people who have the condition in 2010.

“A lot of them think they can’t do yoga because they see these incredible poses,” she said.

“I have Parkinson’s; I feel better when I do yoga and I feel bad to let these people down.

“I’ve always done yoga. I’ve done it since I was in my 20s.”

Ms Bowra said the highlight of her teaching career was being able to help those with Parkinson’s with their balance and flexibility.

“We look old and awkward, I suppose, and people don’t understand that,” she said.

“It’s increasing flexibility, less stiffness – people with Parkinson’s usually are quite stiff.”

Ms Deubert said World Parkinson’s Day on April 11 meant raising awareness of the condition.

“It doesn’t matter what big crowd you’re in, there’ll be people will Parkinson’s in different stages of it,” she said.

To sign up for Parkinson’s WA yoga class, visit https://www.parkinsonswa.org.au/yoga/.