I was originally supposed to try parkour, the art of freerunning across buildings and obstacles, in the first week of this list. But the woman sadly was ill on the day and we couldn't do it. So it was by lucky chance that while standing at our exhibition space at the World Parkinson's Congress my colleague Paul began chatting to Kasturi Torchia, Director of Esprit Concrete.
With Jordan Webb
Jordan is like my PD brother. Diagnosed with Parkinson's whilst at university, Jordan never fails to surprise me with his matter-of-fact attitude towards something which he'd have every right to scream and shout and tumble into self-pity about. He's bundles of fun and although i'm sad that PD happened to him I'm grateful he happened to PD and we get him as part of our family.
The Esprit Concrete Method (ECM), co- created by Kasturi and Gogoly Yao, uses the medium of Art Du Deplacement and Parkour to develop your sense of self and then help you construct ways of working through any inner hurdles that come up as part of the process.
Based on Counselling Psychology principles, Kasturi and Yao use ECM in a creative and person-centered way to meet people where they're at, test their belief in their own movement capabilities and get to know themselves better in relation to themselves and others.
Recently, Esprit Concrete teamed up with Neurowerkstatt to tailor the ECM to meet the needs of People with Parkinson's. And that's how Jordan and I find ourselves in a quiet stairwell in the bustling conference centre learning the basics from Kas.
Kas is a fantastic teacher and an astute human, picking up on my way of doing myself down to avoid embarrassment within minutes of working with me. Together, as a group we unpacked why I do this, worked through it and moved on. We learned some basic standing leaps onto a step and a cat crawl.
Jordan and I were encouraged to spot each other, keeping an eye on each other's every move ready to catch each other if we lost our footing.
Why I think this works for Parkinson's:
- it requires complete control of your body and awareness of what it's doing which i found slowed my tremor
- it's good for strength and conditioning, balance, grounding and gait
- it makes you face how your body has changed, your energy levels, abilities etc and work on ways to meet these challenges
I absolutely loved the session. For the rest of the day I felt more centred and rooted, less likely to fall, and when Jordan and i hit the market later in the day I had no dystonia (muscle spasms) which is unusual for me.
'It is important to do new things because you never know your capabilities if you don’t go beyond your minds limitations and realise that failure is something to be embraced and not scared of. The parkour showed me that you have to fail a few times in order to master the skills you want. With Parkinson’s we are likely to fail at some things but we’ve got to give ourselves credit for just trying in the first place.' Jordan