ARTICLES / General /
Pink Ribbon Yoga is for Caregivers, Too /
By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer
There are few yoga classes in which an
instructor will say “Give your toes some
gratitude,” however, this phrase is heard often,
and directed toward every body part.
Becker reminds her students that simple
awareness of how one is feeling at the moment
helps the individual set limitations in and out
of yoga class.
Support persons’ physical responsibilities
create tiredness. Overtaxing of the body with
chores without a component to refurbish tired
muscles causes tightness of body and mind.
The body holds unconscious feelings, good and
bad, which yoga stretches and breathing can help
release. The pain in a caregiver’s neck
may be literal and a metaphor. When
learning gratitude and awareness of how the body
moves and sets everyday limits for an
individual, caregivers can begin to focus on how
they are feeling in the moment, as well as how
much is too much.
Since the focus of most illness is upon the
individual undergoing the health challenge,
caregivers may inadvertently change into
caretakers, doing what is necessary but gaining
no benefit from what started out as a loving
exchange. Yoga changes this by creating
body awareness which evolves into an ability to
become aware of one's feelings and mental
stresses. It also gives the individual a
method by which to defuse these stresses.
Simple movements such as the gentle rolling of
wrists, pointing and flexing feet, and self
massage can be done by caregivers and loved ones
of many physical levels. When the day is
at its end and both caregiver and loved one are
spent by the demands of the illness, one or the
other can say “Let’s do a couple of poses.”
Because loved ones and caregivers have other
obligations, such as doctor’s appointments,
classes are drop-in and casual. Becker
attempts to give enough information in each
class to inform newcomers and the student who is
only able to attend occasionally. Learning
one or two poses can help the individual have an
at home respite, without the demands of a fully
memorized program. “If you’re present in
the moment, and aware of your breathing, that’s
yoga” is Becker’s affirmation.
In the world of caregivers, support, society,
and self-awareness make up the triad that is the
foundation for healthy caregiving.
Programs like Pink Ribbon Yoga, and providers
such as Corey Becker, RN, strive to provide a
way for caregivers to build a lasting
Yoga Surprises for Caregivers
Anytime we are focused on our breath and
movement, shutting out the noise of the mind (or
at least trying to), we are performing yoga.
These two simple poses can help caregivers mend
at the end of the day, or can be done at day’s
start to recharge.