Anyone who knows me knows that I love my exercise. Boxing, HIIT training, Zumba, weights… I’m good for anything and everything. Well, anything high intensity, mental and hardcore that is. Historically I’d never been one to enjoy calm, relaxation classes or techniques and Yoga had never been on my periphery whatsoever. On a bootcamp abroad I once tried Yoga, and frankly found it so hilarious and was so distracted by giggling with my best friend that I never appreciated exactly what it was all about.
When I was diagnosed with fibro I heard in many places that Yoga was supremely beneficial, but I was skeptical. A friend of mine who is trained to teach Yoga pushed me to give it a go and stick it out for at least four weeks (she obviously had little faith in my perseverance, as did i!) in order to observe the benefits. What did I have to lose? So in the middle of August I booked into my first class with my Mum for support. And shockingly, I LOVED it. I cannot express enough how beneficial Yoga has been for my mind, body and development in living with fibro. Not only does it use your muscles in a completely different way to cardio classes by strengthening and stretching them, the psychological focus the practice brings through slow, deep breathing techniques reduces stress and mental blockages in a way that I never dreamed of.
A couple of weeks into my sessions I experienced my first meditation section of the class. This involved breathing to counts, and visualising calm and stress as two different colours entering and exiting your body with each breath. The trick was to keep your mind from wandering, solely engaged in the breathing. Before that evening meditation had never been something I had managed to give a lot of credit to. But that night I left the studio feeling focused, more positive than I had been in months, and somewhat cleansed.
The physical improvements I have noticed cannot be disregarded. I wake up each morning with less stiffness and aching, my muscles and core posture in particular feel stronger, and I am a thousand times less stressed in general life, which then has a knock on effect on other symptoms. If I can be converted anyone can.
- Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
- Give it at least four weeks before you judge whether its for you or not (courtesy of my friend!)
- Go with an open mind and find a class situation you can be comfortable and relaxed in.