Yoga, Meditation & Concentration

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. March 2022

Yoga classes are back indoors, wearing masks and sanitizing our props afterward. It’s so good to be back together, bonding in the silent space of yoga. It is our refuge. Many students have told me how much yoga has helped as they went through the loss of a loved one. I encourage people to practice at home as well, but many prefer a class for the group experience, the structure, and learning.

We met in the chapel at winter solstice for sharing and good company. It’s a joy to get to know each other and make friends in these quarterly social gatherings. It’s also a unique experience to live together as neighbors as well as practice together. We were back in the chapel again for the fall meditation retreat. In the spring retreat, we talked about equanimity, the peace of mind that comes from yoga and meditation. People braved the ice and snow on New Year’s Day for our annual workshop, again the first time since quarantine began. The whole campus was a sheet of ice!

Classes are an exercise in concentration as well as movement, steadiness of mind and body. We need both as we age. A consistent yoga practice may keep us steady and mobile without needing a walker. We do lots of hip openers to release restrictions and build a more stable foundation. Science has been researching meditation and discovering neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to form new neural connections. An alert mind helps us to avoid falling as well. Over the years many students have told me they tripped over something but were able to recover before falling. Or they did fall but were able to brace themselves so they weren’t injured. Sometimes an older person falls and isn’t hurt but they’re unable to get up again. Hopefully that won’t to any of us with an ongoing yoga practice.

Students range from their 60’s to 90’s. There is something for everyone in each of our 3 classes. We all have restrictions and limitations. We just work around them, moving with grace and equanimity. Yoga means being in harmony with ourselves, in body and mind. Breath is the bridge in between. You can do a free trial of any yoga class to see how it feels. Everyone is welcome!

A Reminder From The Emotional Support Team

Submitted by the resident group, Emotional Support Team – May 2020

 The Emotional Support Team (EST) is composed of Panorama resident volunteers who have professional training and experience helping people through times of trauma. During a disaster such as the current pandemic, they are available to provide emotional support for people who may be having a difficult time enduring isolation, anxiety, fear, crippling frustration or similar feelings. 

The EST will work with Panorama Social Services Staff in times of disaster to complement their program and will make referrals to them for further assistance when requested.  It is not the purpose of the EST to provide long-term care.

To request assistance from the EST, dial x6006 from any Panorama phone or 360-413-6006 from a cell phone or any landline phone. This telephone number is only for leaving a voice message, however, members of the EST will check for messages on a daily basis and respond as quickly as possible.

Pain Management with Yoga

Written by Panorama resident and Yoga Instructor, Charles Kasler – April 2020

We greeted the year with a silent meditation + tea on New Year’s Eve, and a free class on New Year’s Day. We held our spring meditation retreat in the lovely chapel. Connie focused on new scientific research in meditation in her dharma talk. Charles began working with interested yoga students individually outside of class.

We have temporarily discontinued all classes while we shelter in place until the virus threat passes. Likewise we cancelled our spring equinox gathering, the first time we have missed a gathering since we began. Needless to say, we are all looking forward to practicing together again. In the meantime, there are audio and video classes for students to follow at home.

The original purpose of yoga was for inner peace. That’s still true today but there are also many side benefits, among them pain management. One of our students said that her yoga practice is like medicine. So true! Regular practice can lower stress and can have a feedback effect to improve chronic pain. 

“Yoga can teach you how to focus your mind to change your experience of physical pain. It can teach you how to listen to your body and take care of your needs so that you can participate in the activities that matter to you. It can give you back the sense of safety, control, and courage that you need to move past your experience of chronic pain.” – Kelly McConnogal, Stanford University

Practicing yoga on a regular basis can affect your response to pain, decreasing your level of perceived suffering. The increased flow of oxygen to the brain and muscle tissues improves energy level and sense of well being. Combining breath awareness with the physical movement of yoga helps release muscle tension in your body. For people with arthritis, moving joints through their range of motion and stretching muscles can decrease the intensity of pain, or relieve it completely. 

You can manage pain in two ways: 

Symptom Improvement – reduce pain for conditions that cause acute or chronic pain, such as low back pain, or recovery from surgery.

Adjunct to Western Medicine – aid in treatment of conditions that have pain as the main feature, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic headaches, and cancer treatments.

The level of pain you feel is influenced by how your brain perceives the experience. Several factors can influence pain perception, including: 

Age – As brain areas degenerate with age so does brain circuitry, so older people have lower pain tolerance and it may be harder to deal with pain.

Memory – Our past experience dealing with pain can influence our neural responses to it, causing us to be more sensitive to pain.

Acute vs. Chronic Pain

Chronic pain differs from acute pain in three ways: 

  1. Your body can become more sensitive to the threat of pain, leading to fear and anxiety.
  2. Your brain can become more likely to interpret situations as threatening, and sensations as painful.
  3. With the experience of repeated reactions to pain, your ability to differentiate between the many aspects of the pain response may become blurred.

Chronic pain is challenging because it goes beyond the physical presence of pain, and affects your mind-body connection. Chronic pain can affect your daily functioning due to changes in: 

  • Breathing. Your breath can become more shallow and shaky, making exercise and even normal physical activities more challenging. 
  • Muscle Tension. Because your body is in a constant state of alert, muscle tension can increase. This will limit your range of motion, which in turn can worsen stiffness. 
  • Movement Patterns. As you try to protect the area of pain, your movement patterns can change dramatically. Some people stop all nonessential movement, limiting what they can do in the short term and causing stiffness and weakness in the long term. Other people grit and bear the pain, only stopping when the pain is so intense that they can’t continue, but they may be creating unhealthy movement patterns that result in uneven physical wear and tear. 
  • Body Image. How you view yourself can change from physically capable to weak and incapable, which makes you less willing to take on physical challenges or even to keep exercising. 
  • Thought Patterns. Chronic pain can cause you to become less optimistic about pain and your life in general.
  • Emotions. Your emotions may become more volatile, leading you to become angry, frustrated, tearful, and overwhelmed. 

Although chronic pain can cause each of these issues, they are all problems that you can treat with yoga. And as you consciously address your chronic pain, you can improve or reverse the physical, mental, and emotional damage it has caused. 

Makin’ Do

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush – March 2020

The situation today that is affecting so many populations makes me harken back to my bringing up. My grandmother came through the depression and essentially raised me until I was about eleven. She instilled cooking and sewing skills and ways to solve problems, “makin’ do” she called it.

Then my family was a one-earner blue collar family and it was hard some of the time. Polio scare came and went with the vaccine. My dad was a staunch union supporter and we went through long strikes where he wouldn’t cross the picket lines, and that was hard on a young family.

Now, finally in my waning years, I am ensconced in a caring community. Panorama was a life-affirming decision we may in our early 70s. Six years we have enjoyed what the community has offered us. Outings and activities have let us explore a new region and keep fit at the same time. 

Now I am impressed, as we all head into uncharted territory with a new health and public safety issue. I am impressed that our management and board of directors have our well-being out center in their sights.

We are experiencing disruptions to our daily patterns and find we are in new territory as a community. In our various neighborhoods we are readily watching out for those who are less prepared for the deprivations ahead. All of our workers and service people have family issues of their own in this time.  I am so grateful for them all!!!

I am betting on our common sense and abilities to ride this thing out. One hopes this is a passing threat and will resolve as other flus have. But in case this is the new normal, boy, will our frugal and caring ways come to the fore. Limiting our actual contact with friends and neighbors is best, but phones and email work!!!

Everyone is stressed, and that is not so good re: our immune systems fighting what may be a casual contact with this virus. We need to get our books and readers out, work some puzzles, and try to laugh at funny stuff. The media is making most everyone nuts. The less time spent monitoring that is best.

Our TV and Kya functions are keeping us posted with what is important to us. Keep tabs on it and share with those who might not be so electrically hooked up….we really are all in this together. Let’s enjoy the spring and the blooms and now the snow and the rain. We are so very lucky to live in such a place as Panorama.


Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. August 2018

We held our annual Summer Solstice gathering in the Pea Patch, keeping watch for the last hour of light on the longest day. It was very pleasant sitting and walking among the flowers. I taught a balance workshop in August with simple home practices to help prevent falls. Fall/winter will bring more gatherings: a meditation retreat, a mindfulness introduction workshop, a New Year’s Eve silent meditation, and maybe a New Year’s Day class. We have a rich and close community of yoga/meditation students here at Panorama, open to all residents. I think of it as a silent support group.

Connie at the Activity Fair

Summer Solstice in the Pea Patch

People sometimes think their injuries, illness or limitations prevent them from joining a yoga class. Not at all! We adapt movements to each student. Yoga is for everybody, seniors especially. We’re all in this together, teachers included. That’s a beautiful part of yoga at Panorama – we live together, we’re friends and see each other outside of class as well. In addition, we care for and support each other as we go through different challenges. That’s the true spirit of yoga beyond a movement practice.

People are living longer, even as the body declines. We need to stay active in order to live independently. As we age, we lose muscle mass and strength and reaction time is slower, affecting balance. Our reflexes and coordination also slow down with age. A third of people over 65 fall each year. At 80, half of the seniors fall each year. Falling, not osteoporosis, is the strongest risk factor for fractures. In addition, some people fall and aren’t seriously hurt, but can’t get back up. Falls can be reduced by up to 50% with balance training. Over the years, many yoga students have reported that their practice has improved their balance, and sometimes averted a fall. Yoga develops mental clarity and concentration, as well as improved body awareness and control. The two go hand in hand. While age is a risk factor, a person who is healthy and fit effectively has a lower chronological age, leaving them less susceptible to falls and fractures. Yoga can help us age gracefully with improved quality of life.

A Resident’s Perspective – Walk Events

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2018

Over the five years we have been in residence at Panorama, I am always amazed at the outpouring of support and inclusion of our community, by both residents and staff when activities happen. Three events are prime examples: the 5K walkabout on campus, Walk the Loop Tuesdays, and the Arts Walk.

May found many of us signed up for and completing the 5K walk around campus. Much energy was put in designing the path and then marking it in orange rain-soluble chalk.  Then there were the water stations at many points. It was also designed so that benches were along the way for resting awhile, if needed. It seemed every department was represented in the effort. Security, Emergency Response, Marketing, Bus Transportation drivers, Aquatic & Fitness Center, Lifestyle Enrichment, Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro, and Independent Living Services were all manning some aspect of keeping us safe and connected. And then there was the start-finish boom box with fun music at the Aquatic & Fitness Center!

5K or 3 miles onward!

Walk, ride, or whatever!

Besides “Shanks Mare” (walking), there were bicycles, upright segues, scooters, three-wheelers, canes, and walkers used. The overcast day kept the temperatures bearable for those of us who abhor walking in the heat!!!!  This time of year, with the unbelievable array of color in the Rhododendrons, it was an additional treat to walk the neighborhoods that the route took us.

Vibrant Rhododendrons

Grace, from Lifestyle Enrichment, in her cheerleader hat!

Medals at the end were a nice touch!

And now it is Walk the Loop time for summer Tuesday evenings from 6:30 PM on. These are gentle walks, allowing you to do what length you want and enjoy the learning stations along the way. Riddles, quizzes and informational postings add to memories or learning or just plain fun. The Panorama campus is flat and is such a treat for those who are mobility-impaired and using various aids, such as canes or walkers or scooters, to enjoy the fresh air of an evening. Also, it is a gab-fest for folks you don’t see day to day. The opportunities to connect and stay moving here at Panorama are such a bonus.

The Arts Walk involved so many artists and supporters of artists in amazing displays in many venues about campus! These were concentrated in a few buildings and environs, so the “walk” part was not excessive. Buses ran on a schedule to get folks to all the venues. The creativity of residents is wonderful to see. Music was heard all over the venues by various groups with different instruments and vocals in the Auditorium. Actors and readers were reprising the “Dixie Swim Club” play from earlier this year and it was just as funny with good attendance in the Auditorium. The afternoon found our Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro dispensing ice cream products under the portico of the Auditorium.

I always think no wonder there are 400+ folks on the wait lists to get in here! We are so very fortunate. Do get out and enjoy campus as we roll into summer, in a few weeks. The grounds crew has made this such a vibrant-hued community in ALL seasons.

The Benefits of Yoga and an Update from your Panorama Yoga Team

Written by Panorama resident and yoga instructor, Charles Kasler. 
August 2017

Panorama has a very active yoga/meditation community. We are friends as well as we practice together and look after each other. These pictures are from our annual summer solstice vigil in the Pea Patch garden. We also had a recent workshop on breathing. Our next event will be high tea for the fall equinox in the Seventeen51 Restaurant and Bistro.

Why is yoga so popular with seniors? Because it slows down aging, helps us feel better and maintains quality of life. There are five primary areas in which yoga can be therapeutic for seniors:

  1. Preventative – high blood pressure, heart disease, falls
  2. Curative – musculoskeletal conditions (this also requires maintenance)
  3. Maintenance – maintaining quality of life with chronic illness such as muscular dystrophy or rheumatoid arthritis
  4. Palliative – improving quality of life with terminal illness such as cancer

[yoga is medically recognized as a support for side effects of chemotherapy: fatigue, nausea, digestive problems, loss of appetite, anxiety & depression, weakened bones, pain, nervous system disturbance, cognitive problems]

  1. Rehabilitation – after heart attack, stroke, surgery

Yoga massages the muscles: relieving chronic pain and tension, reducing fatigue, improving flexibility and symmetry, toning and strengthening muscles as well as connective tissue. Balance also improves.

Yoga stimulates circulation of all of the fluids: blood, the lymphatic system, and the very fluids that are within and surround each cell of the body. This improved circulation lessens stress on the heart, lowers blood pressure, and promotes healthy metabolism of each cell. It thins the blood and increases the number of red blood cells. Improved lymphatic drainage boosts immunity and enhances detoxification. Circulation to the skin improves as well. The heart becomes stronger even as its workload lessens. The resting heart rate lowers. Improved circulation transports hormones released by the endocrine system.

Skeletal structure improves: joints align increasing their range of motion as well as being supported by (newly toned) muscles. Pain in the joints may decrease, especially the back. Bone density increases through weight bearing. Symptoms of arthritis can diminish. Posture improves dramatically. Movement is more efficient and requires less effort. Balance and kinesthetic awareness improve. Feet open up.

The respiratory system functions better as we learn proper breathing: we release tensions that restrict the breath, the volume of air we breathe increases, exchange of waste products improves, cellular respiration improves. Longer and slower breathing is therapeutic.

Digestion and elimination improve: the entire digestive system is massaged, stress releases, and dietary changes contribute to better digestion.

Organs and glands: yoga contributes to hormone regulation and regulates the adrenals. Yoga can lower blood sugar levels as well. Body weight may normalize. Yoga sometimes lowers the need for medications.

The nervous system: the entire practice shifts us from the stress response to the relaxation response. The mind quiets, concentration and alertness improve, mood becomes more positive – happier, better self-esteem, better sleep, more body awareness. Relationships may improve and addictions may have less power over us.

Immune function improves: as the body functions more optimally, we are better able to fight off disease and infection.


A Resident’s Perspective – Meet the Yoga Team

  Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. March 2017

Meet The Yoga Team: Connie, Jean, and Charles. We are all seniors ourselves and residents of Panorama. We bring years of training, practice, and teaching experience to our classes.


“Do what you can and that is perfect for you.” – Jean

Jean Garwood is a certified Yoga instructor who has been teaching since 1995. Jean started the yoga program at Panorama. She was certified at the International Sivananda Yoga Vendanta Center. She is also a certified Chair Yoga Instructor. She taught and worked several times at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas. She has attended continuing education programs at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in California. She has taught in various centers including her own private studio. Jean taught Chair Yoga as manager of the Chalet for three years and Chair and Floor Yoga at Panorama for 10 years.

“Remember to breathe.” – Charles

Charles Kasler has been teaching since 1990. He is a former resident of Esalen Institute and Kripalu Yoga Ashram, and a founding member of the Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association. He also studied at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California. He completed the first Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga training at Spirit Rock. He has several audio recordings that were featured in Yoga Journal Magazine. He is the author of Dharma: 40 Essays On Yoga, and Light To Dispel the Darkness – both available at He was a member of the teacher training faculty at Yoga Center of Carmel, California as well as teaching at Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula and Hospice of the Central Coast. He teaches Moving Meditation and co-leads the Mindfulness Meditation program with Connie.

“May the light within me recognize the light within you.” – Connie

Connie Ruhl is a certified Yoga instructor who completed 200 and 500 hour Yoga Alliance authorized training programs. Connie also completed a Yoga for Healthy Aging training program in Berkeley, CA in August 2015. She has sat in a number of extended meditation retreats. She began practicing and studying in 1983 through 2000 with Mady Sharma (formally trained in India from classic hatha yoga schools). She participates in yoga classes in various studios in US and internationally as opportunities arise. She has been teaching Yoga II and Chair Yoga at Panorama since 2009, and co-leads the Mindfulness Meditation program.


Intergenerational Forum – On Life and Issues of Death & Dying

Intergenerational Forum at PanoramaWritten by Panorama staff. May 2016

“Do you remember thinking about death when you were younger? Or even thinking about aging for that matter?

As we age, our perception of life and thoughts about death change but is it something we can talk about? How do we bring it up with our kids or grandkids? These are some of the questions we’re exploring with our year long Embracing Life program.

One concern of vital importance for each of us is communicating to our loved ones how we want our lives to go on as we age and what a good death looks like to each of us as individuals. If there comes a time when we need their support at the end of life or if they need to make decisions on our behalf, we can feel more confident knowing our wishes are understood.

In exploration of this, we hosted an Intergenerational Forum which included a panel of 4 High School Seniors and 4 Seniors Who Once Were in High School. The four high school seniors joined us from Timberline, South Sound, Riveridge, and North Thurston high schools, while the four “young but not as young” seniors were all Panorama residents. Questions were posed to each age group and surprisingly, we found more commonalities than differences.

1) What is old?

High School Seniors:

“Old is not a number; it’s how mature you are.”

“Old isn’t necessarily a thing you have to be; it’s all about mentality.”

“The older you get, the more you mature as a person; it’s about how you grow.”

Panorama Seniors:

“Being old is a privilege; you can really appreciate the wonderful things around you and let go of the petty things.”

“I’ve enjoyed every era of life.”

2) What do you want your life story to be? How will you “Embrace Life”?

High School Seniors:

“I want to do the most I can to help people; I want to be remembered as a good person.”

“I want to know that other people enjoyed life because of my presence.”

“I want to know that I built something good. It’s so easy to tear apart but I want to know that I built.”

“I think about how I want to feel at the end. On my death bed, what will I wish I did more of? Top of the list, for me,  is time with family.”

Panorama Seniors:

“Are we making a difference? That’s something I’ve come to think about every single day as I’ve gotten older.”

“My mother always said ‘To make life worth something you must live with as much joy as you can.’ and that’s something I’ve tried to live by.”

3) Do youth today have respect for seniors like the generation before them did?

High School Seniors:

“Lack of respect comes from lack of empathy.”

“We just have to understand that we’re not different; we were just born at different times.”

“We have to know that one day we have the option to be what they are.”

“Contact is crucial to find common ground – to work together to grow the community as a whole.”

“{If intergenerational communication was more common} kids wouldn’t be so scared of growing up.”

Panorama Seniors:

“Each generation thinks the next generation is not as good as they were. But maybe they could be better. It varies from person to person.”

“Lack of intergenerational communication contact creates a lack of understanding and respect. Communication bridges that.”

“{My wife and I}…participate in Road Scholar and have had the opportunity to see our grandkids interact with kids their age in a positive way – that helps provide perspective for us.”

“I must be the only 80+ person playing online Playstation but I get to interact with multiple generations in the game and we talk generally about everything together.”

“We have so much in common – if only we just talk to each other.”

4) Do you talk about death and dying?

High School Seniors:

“We do talk about it but in the way of living your life.”

“I don’t really think about death. I don’t want to think about it. I want to have a life where I know I built something bigger than death – I built life.”

“A lot of younger people don’t think about their actions now; they don’t think ahead to the legacy they will leave behind.”

Panorama Seniors:

“I look forward to the time when I can speak openly with my family {about death} & we can express our love.”

“We’ve dealt with the administrative issues {of death} but not the deep stuff, such as what we want our legacy to be.”

“When you’re really young, you just don’t relate to it. When we get older, we think much more about the manner of death we want.”

“The difficulty is family members struggle with hearing us talk about it and hearing our wishes.”

“Many times, grandchildren can talk to grandparents easier than they can with their parents. It’s a good thing to talk to grandparents.”


Register online for our Embracing Life Conference (June 9th) for an opportunity to learn about how to talk to your loved ones about your legacy and your wishes.

To read about last year’s  Intergenerational Forum visit this post.

How to Help Someone Who Has Fallen

This article is featured in the December issue of the Panorama News. Although it was written specifically for our campus, the information is important for all to know.

Written by Panorama Health Services Director, Marla LeFevre. 
Introduction by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy.

Falls are a common occurrence among people of all ages, but they can lead to serious consequences, particularly among older folks. Many people are embarrassed that they have fallen and immediately try to get up, which is not the wisest thing to do.  We may think we are still 20, but our aging bodies do not respond to a fall like a 20-year-old would.  In addition to potential physical injury, a fall can sometimes cause dizziness or confusion. 

If you see someone who has fallen or are with someone who falls, you may wonder what the best course of action is.  Here are some brief guidelines to help you help someone else.      – Judy Murphy

*Call 911 immediately and then the Urgent Response Aide (using a SARA pendant, pull-cord, telephone off-hook, or dialing 413-6000).

*Stay with the person who has fallen (the patient)

*Ensure that the patient is in a safe place (divert traffic, etc.)

*Do not move the patient unless their life is at risk in the current location (i.e. burning car, building collapse)

*Do not assume there is no injury even if the patient states they are fine; many patients don’t realize they are hurt until after they have tried to get up

*If a person is bleeding profusely, apply pressure to the wound with a clean item (if a First Aid kit is not available, clean clothing is ok to use) until the Urgent Response Aide or fire department arrives

*The fire department crew is trained to do a full assessment to determine injuries and can stabilize wounds/injuries until full medical care is received (such as transporting to a hospital)

*All head injuries should be evaluated at a hospital


There have been questions in the past about the role of Panorama’s Urgent Response Aides (URAs) when a person has fallen. URAs are Nursing Assistants who are certified in First Aid/CPR/AED, but they are not qualified to make comprehensive injury assessments, which is why 911 is always called.  The URA carries a cell phone and will call 911 if nobody else has called.


Urgent Response Aides will not lift a person up, because this may cause further injury to the patient and may also cause injury to the URA. Fire dept crews have sufficient staff numbers to lift an uninjured person safely.


The URA can assist with basic first aid, supporting/reassuring the patient and their loved ones, crowd control, obtaining medical history, gathering items needed if a patient is transported to a hospital, notifying emergency contacts and primary healthcare providers, and tidying up/locking up the home. The URA will call the resident the day after an incident, to see if any further assistance is needed.


Please contact the URA Supervisor Tim Templet at 7561 or Independent Living Services Coordinator Marla LeFevre at 7564 if you have any questions about emergency care.    – Marla LeFevre, Health Services Director

The Story Behind Our Newest Fitness Program

What Is NIA?

Written by Panorama's Fitness Coordinator, Melissa Thoemke. April 2015


We have all heard the expression “no pain, no gain.” The idea behind this popular sentiment is that in order to achieve real results you need to push your body beyond your comfort level. Debbie Rosas, the creator of Nia had a different idea. Debbie was no stranger to pushing her body past its limits; from 1972 to 1983 she operated an exercise business in San Francisco known as the Bod Squad.  After a series of exercise related injuries, she decided to find an alternative method to her high impact fitness lifestyle.

After observing martial arts, Debbie realized that with all of her intense exercise, she had forgotten to how to move her body. After making this realization, Debbie Rosas spent 13 years developing Nia. Nia stands for Non Impact Aerobics and combines Yoga, Modern Dance and Martial arts. The practice is done barefoot so that the participant can more easily experience the mind/body connection.

The wonderful truth about Nia is that everyone who participates will see a benefit regardless of their physical abilities. The Panorama Aquatic Center has started hosting a weekly Nia class taught by Sandra Caldwell, Certified Nia Instructor. The class meets every Wednesday at 7 AM in our newly renovated Quinault fitness room. Residents who attend the class say that it makes them feel free and powerful and that it is a great way to start the day.

Parkinson’s Awareness Month at Panorama

 April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Nearly one million Americans live with Parkinson’s – approximately 30,000 here in Washington including dozens at Panorama. Fortunately, Panorama has many programs offering help and support to residents coping with this disease.

Panorama Social Services facilitates a Living with Parkinson’s support group. The group provides an opportunity for residents with Parkinson’s and their caregivers to come together to share and receive information from guest speakers, staff and each other. Topics include self-help tips, nutrition, art and music, speech therapy, legal advice, exercise and more.

Studies consistently show exercise helps alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms so Panorama offers a Parkinson’s Exercise Class twice a week at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. The class is taught by a certified Movement Class Instructor.

These groups are an essential way for residents to maintain a healthy, supportive and engaging lifestyle at Panorama. “It reminds us that we are not alone,” said the spouse of one resident who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s eighteen years ago. The partnership among residents, staff and professionals in the community is what makes our programs special.

Parkinson’s Awareness Month will conclude with a showing of the PBS documentary My Father, My Brother, and Me on April 30th at 1:30pm in the Panorama Auditorium. In the hour-long film, journalist Dave Iverson shares his story of how he, his father, and his older brother were all diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  Iverson sets off on a personal journey to explore the scientific, ethical, and political debate that surrounds the disease. The film is both educational, inspirational and a must see for everyone. There will be FREE Parkinson’s publications, worksheets and information on how you can support research toward finding a cure.

If you would like more information about these and other programs, please contact the Living with Parkinson’s support group facilitator and Campus Social Services Worker, Sara Wasser at 438-7776.



Active Retirement – A Yoga Program That Fits Everyone

Yoga InstructorIt’s been said before how extensive our list of groups and activities at Panorama has become. Looking at the popular Yoga program, it’s easy to see that this list just keeps on growing!

Thanks to three talented instructors and our beautiful fitness center, Panorama residents have the opportunity to participate in a number of yoga classes happening right here on campus.

We have three teachers, all Panorama residents and certified yoga instructors, who offer a variety of class types for all skill levels throughout the week.

As our resident population varies in physical ability, it is important to consider accommodations for all levels of physical activity. The first question our fitness coordinator will ask a resident who is interested in yoga class is “Can you get up from the floor without assistance?” Each person’s physical ability and their desired focus designate which class will fit best. Although these classes differ from each other, the basis of yoga practice on which they are founded is bringing awareness to our bodies and serenity to our souls.

Chair Yoga, taught by Connie on Monday and Jean on Wednesday, is a class for those of us who are less comfortable getting up from the floor. ¾ of the class involves movements and stretches that are practiced while seated. The remaining ¼ of the class is performed while holding onto a chair for balance.

Yoga 1Yoga I is a beginner’s introduction to yoga. Designated for people with moderate to strong physical ability, this class allows for extra support options as needed. It’s taught on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons by Jean. The focus of this is relaxation of all muscles. We begin with pre yoga traction and focused breathing, filling the lungs with life-giving breath. Then, we move throughout the body, isolating our focus on individual muscle areas, including the eyes.

“We try to move everything that’s supposed to move.”

We continue on, opening the chest, stretching shoulders, wrists, ankles, fingers, and toes, calming the spirit and the breath.

“We are as young as our spines are flexible.”

Active Retirement Yoga

Yoga II, taught by Connie on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, is for more experienced residents with strong physical ability. This class focuses on basic yoga practices, uniting the body, mind and spirit.

Laughter Yoga is a unique class that is centered on yogic breathing and the physical activity of laughter as a tremendously efficient way to release tension. It does not require a sense of humor, nor do you need a reason to laugh, but it will leave you feeling the psychological and physiological benefits of laughter. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve been there so this is one we recommend trying for yourself.

Moving Meditation is taught by Charles on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. With the use of fluid yoga movement and breathing exercises, this practice focuses on self-awareness, stress reduction, and balance improvement.

Active Retirement YogaMindfulness Meditation involves meditation through guided sitting and walking. This class meets on Thursday afternoons, with the occasional half-day retreats that include instructive dharma talks.

The Yoga and Meditation Sangha gather together each quarter for a social event that cultivates the supportive yoga and meditation community.

Living Well Workshops are offered quarterly. Some upcoming workshops, for example, include “The Relationship Between Yoga, Fitness, and Aging” and “Yoga and Osteoporosis.”

This yoga program has grown tremendously over the years and shows promise for continued growth. We are lucky to have such dedicated instructors who provide these outstanding wellness options!


November Food 2 B Fit

Once a month Panorama residents gather in our own Chambers House Restaurant to learn about nutrition and to taste it in action. Our Fitness Coordinator, Melissa, teaches while our Catering Manager, Meggin, cooks a meal with the featured food items. Yesterday we learned more about the topic of food synergy, which describes the increased benefits of nutritious foods when they are combined with certain other nutrients. This time our focus was on the super duo of spinach and beets. When eaten alone each of these vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrients. So why bother putting them together? Well, the benefits they provide the body are facilitated by the presence of one another. In other words, nutrients work in teams. The vitamin C found in beets helps with the absorption of iron found in spinach.

After learning about the benefits of spinach and beets on their own, as well as together, we all got to dig into the lunch that Meggin had prepared, which was a Roast Beef, Beet, and Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette.


Olympia Top in Health and Well-Being

According to the Thurston County Economic Development Council, the Olympia area recently scored second nationally in the small cities category of the Well-Being Index which includes: Life Evaluation, Physical Health, Emotional Health, Healthy Behavior, Work Environment, and Basic Access.

Click here to read the full Thurston County EDC article.