Well – this was one heck of a weekend! The Bedford Breathing Space Yoga Studio was celebrating its 1st year in business, as well as raising money for cancer…by dong a morning celebration of 108 Sun Salutations. I wanted to be there to show my support – so I went, figuring I would go with the flow, and do what I could.
What a personal rush!
I lasted the entire session – modifying the poses and flow as I needed to, listening to my body & arguing with myself about whether any pain was MS pain, back pain, or good “workout” pain – challenging myself to “just one more round”. By the time Savasana (corpse pose) came around at the end, I was exhausted and euphoric! I was expecting to be in pain – but I was loose, relaxed, energized, and very very tired – all at the same time! So, after a light lunch at home, I told my kids I was gonna lay down and close my eyes for a moment: I slept for most of the afternoon. Then I was “out of it”, as my kids say, for the evening – fatigued and exhausted to the point where I seemed drunk – slurring my words and missing key points in conversations. So – I went to bed early, and slept until almost noon the next day!
So – as an MS’er, why in the world would I do that to myself?
I do it because the physical benefits & personal challenge are worth it to me! The next day, I felt loose, relaxed, and better than I had in ages – as much from the physical challenge as the mental & emotional challenge. I even went to hot Yoga the next evening – and found it wonderfully satisfying and almost easy compared to the 108! The comfort it gives me knowing that my body can still adapt in some way to physical challenges that I place on it, despite the lack of control over the challenges it places on me, is priceless. I know that I can go on no matter what life throws at me – those 75 minutes on the Yoga mat do that for me.
The yoga is already changing my healing ability – my back responds faster to adjustments, and the results stay longer. The peace the spiritual aspects that yoga is opening in my life are giving my skills to cope with the various challenges I must deal with on a daily basis – not the least of which is MS symptoms on top of the possibility of a seizure at the drop of a hat. I feel more confident that my body will be able to withstand and recover from any future seizures – or, at the very least, that I am giving it every chance I can.
The biggest thing that I am learning from yoga right now is that it is ok to just be in the moment, be where you are, at whatever point you are. So what if I used to be able to bench-press over 150Lbs? So what if I used to be able to swim circles around people? That is not what my body can do anymore – and it is ok. I used to think that being powerfully muscled and strong was the only way I could be at my best – size meant strength. I am rapidly coming to understand that the subtle and graceful beauty of yoga is in the strength and power that it gives you – a quiet and gracefull inner strength and powerful yet subtle physical strength. Strength to face every day’s challenge with a deep breath, grace, and calm.
My MS & Yoga journey continues…