Dialog Box

Spotlight interview with Amanda Shirley

The benefits of practicing yoga for people living with Parkinson’s is undeniable – and no one understands this as well as Amanda Shirley.

As a single mum with a 13-year-old daughter, Amanda’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s on her 55th birthday, understandably left her in shock. She described how despite feeling overwhelmed by the diagnosis, she has since realised that Parkinson’s is “not a life sentence.”

“I was lucky to have the support of my friends who rallied around me and helped me with whatever I needed. I had meals cooked for me and assistance with filling out forms and other tasks that were daunting for me at the time,” Amanda said.

She turned to yoga shortly after her diagnosis and has not looked back. A few years after starting her yoga practice, she committed to training as a yoga teacher. Two and a half years later, in December 2021, Amanda became a qualified yoga teacher. She now instructs weekly classes for people with Parkinson’s and specialises in Yoga Therapy, Women’s Yoga and Yoga for Pregnancies.

The benefits of yoga can be significant for anybody – however for people living with Parkinson’s, the benefits are often life changing. Yoga can help control tremors as well as increase mobility, strength, and flexibility.

For Amanda, yoga has helped to ease her anxiety and manage the symptoms of her Parkinson’s. As well as yoga, Amanda attends a weekly class with PD Warrior focusing on aerobics, weight, and stability training.

When asked what guidance she would give to someone thinking about starting yoga, Amanda said “do your best and try not to worry about what other people are doing. Everyone’s body is different and there is no need to compete with anyone in the room.” She added, “whatever you do is the best you can do – and that’s all you need to do.”

Amanda is passionate about educating people about the benefits of yoga and will be attending Parkinson’s WA support groups to share her knowledge of Parkinson’s and yoga.

To anyone newly diagnosed Amanda’s greatest piece of advice is to “allow people to help you” and to “surround yourself with positive people.”

Amanda is grateful for her now 17-year-old daughter Georgia, her friends and wider community who have continuously supported her. Amanda also spoke highly of her Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist who is always only a phone call away.

Amanda is a truly inspiring individual and her outlook on life and living with Parkinson’s is something that should be shared with all people with the condition.

You can come along to Amanda’s weekly yoga class at the George Burnett Leisure Centre, Manning Rd, Manning from 9:45am to 11:00am on Wednesdays throughout school terms. To register please contact Amanda at acshirley@iinet.net.au.

Parkinson’s WA is the peak and representative body for the 20,000 people impacted by Parkinson’s in this state. If you are living with Parkinson’s and need support please contact the Parkinson’s WA office on (08) 6457 7373.

09 March 2022
Category: News