Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yoga


So, I can't believe I haven't written about this yet, but I guess that's just the way things are.  

I've been practicing yoga for several months now.  It is one of the best experiences of my life, the fitness aspect as well as the life, body, mind centering that it brings.  I practice at a studio just a few blocks from where I live called Grow Yoga.  I just finished the first 8 week beginner Hatha series.  Of course I did not participate in all 8 weeks, because of my condition I missed out on 3 of them, but hope to continue going on Tuesday mornings.

I've become stronger after the sedentary life I had been living because of my condition.  I am also more flexible than I have ever been.  Which just blows my mind.  The benefits yoga has brought to my life are innumerable.

I will say this about the practice of yoga:

  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs are, for at least a few moments during your practice you can become centered on that one thing that holds your life together.  
  • You become more aware of yourself, both in how your body moves and how your mind works. 
  •  You can come to each practice moving only in the way your body will allow you.  This is most important for me, because of all the chronic pain and fatigue I experience.  
  • From day to day you may not know what your abilities are going to be, but you can always participate in the practice of yoga as your body allows you to move in only comfortable non-harmful ways.

Because I am a new yogi on this journey I am not going to recommend any specific practice or style that may be better than another.  I am not going to tell you to go out and spend money on any one particular book or DVD.  But I do want to encourage you, if you feel that your body could use some movement and you can't find the one thing that works for you, seek out a yoga class.  Hatha yoga is perfect for beginners.  Be careful of classes that claim to be power yoga or hot yoga, while these are valid practices, if you have any kind of chronic condition that causes pain, weakness or fatigue, they would not be helpful classes for you. 

Don't be afraid to ask questions before you take a class, meet the instructor, make sure they know your specific needs.  If a particular instructor is not willing to listen about your limitations, then move on and find someone new.  This is not advice just for those of us in chronic pain, but everyone.  You need to find what works for you and not just what happens to be the biggest or most popular class.  

You will not master all poses immediately, but you may find that some things come more easy than others.  Work on those, but also challenge yourself into poses that give you problems.  I have benefited from working my body in as many directions as possible.  I have better posture, and I feel healthier from it.  

Because of the benefits I have received from yoga as a person in chronic pain, I've launched on a quest to learn all I can about the practice of yoga, and I would like to train to become a teacher specializing in helping those in chronic pain.  This isn't going to take place immediately as the amount of knowledge to be acquired by a yoga instructor is vast, and I do not want to rush my study because I want to enjoy the journey, and hopefully bring my experiences to help others like me.

As for what other paths I will be taking in the future, they are still unknown, but I trust they will be revealed in time.  In yoga we end with the word Namaste, meaning "the light in me honors the light in you."  This warrants it's own post in itself relating to my experiences in India.  But for now I will just finish this post with Namaste.

7 comments:

Renee said...

This is so great, Chrissy. Way to go. I have Yoga for the bedridden when is mainly stretches and I am planning to do this 1x a week to start slowly. I have heard that Yoga is good for people with chronic illnesses.

Chrissy Joy said...

Renee, I started with doing yoga from a Fibromyalgia informational video. It just had light stretching and restorative type poses. I highly suggest doing whatever you are able to. I still hurt, but I feel accomplished and it feels good.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you found something that makes you body feel a little better and stronger. I know for a fact that before your illness you could never have done that pose in the picture or the one where you bummed up your nose.
Keep truckin Tine....Love you xoxoxo mom hugs

Penny Reid said...

Looking forward to a time when you might return to PA and lead some classes. hugs, penny

Ry-noceros said...

I guess I hadn't realized that you hadn't posted about yoga yet... guess I am just used to hearing about it and everything and didn't realize you hadn't put it up here yet!

judyschoon said...

Hi, just checking to see if I can comment hugs

Chrissy Joy said...

Renee, I started with doing yoga from a Fibromyalgia informational video. It just had light stretching and restorative type poses. I highly suggest doing whatever you are able to. I still hurt, but I feel accomplished and it feels good.