Yoga practice encompasses so many elements beyond just physical exercise. However most of my experience and knowledge of yoga, like many peoples has come via the path of exploring yoga as a physical activity, through teachers teaching predominantly Iyengar and Hatha based asana.
Within these teachings there was some teaching around breathing, and around meditation and relaxation, but in a very informal sense as a way to deepen and enrich the physical experience.. breathing into the poses, etc.
Yoga was something I did as a little girl rolling around on the living room floor with my mother in front of the TV yoga exercise program.
When I was in my early teens I was doing all kinds of things at the YWCA, and I wanted to do more yoga, so they let me in the class even though it was for adults with my parents permission.
I then explored yoga on and off throughout adulthood as part of maintaining health. Sometimes going years without regular yoga practice, but visiting it often, and it having a background interest now and then.
When I got into martial arts I incorporated a lot of yoga into my stretching and working around that. Yoga has been a 'companion' to many other activities in my life.
Now, as my body is in a state where I have very very little physical energy, I'm exercise 'intolerant' and become rapidly exhausted to the point of severe illness, dizzy, sweating, nauseous, heart racing, blood pressure crazy, if pushing it would result likely in vomitting, fainting, convulsions. This is not from heavy exercise.. but from every day levels of activity, for instance I would say getting dressed with easy to put on clothing for me would be the equivalent of a heavy half hour of kick boxing was a decade ago. I get muscular fatigue from lifting my cutlery and chewing during meals, with subsequent sore arms and jaw muscles.. as if I had asked them to do an immense amount of work.
However, yoga is still with me I find.
Where so many other things have been completely left behind, yoga remains.
Yoga is there not only when I do go to stretch out my sore body to the capability it does have, there are some poses, like the cobra... that I rely on, to keep my spine and my back and my body as lose as possible.
The other way yoga is with me is in breath, and in managing and accepting pain.
My yoga teacher, I remember, would encourage us when we were pushing our bodies, when we were feeling some discomfort and fatigue in holding a pose, to breath into the pain, to accept it, to embrace it, to listen to it, and connect with it and communicate with it.... through breath.
What I wonder now is if there is any more I could be doing with yoga in my life. Knowing how much wisdom is within this tradition, I wonder what a 'yoga' approach to a health situation like mine might look like.
If anyone has ideas or suggestions in terms of bringing more 'yoga' into my life, perhaps through the non-physical branches of yoga I would love to learn more about what kind of yoga might benefit me or others dealing with severe physical limitations.
Hey Zeina, you're quite right, deficiencies in those areas can cause similar symptoms and issues to what I'm dealing with. It's not the situation in my particular case though. I've had all my levels done for hormones and minerals and they are fine.
I've been very thorough in investigating possible causal factors and ways of addressing them. I actually just had a full bloodwork panel done. I get them checked regularly.
Like many people with similar health issues I do go through higher levels of certain minerals and take large dose supplementation of magnesium, etc. I find regular blood work re-assures me that I'm not taking too much, or not getting enough.
Unfortunately there are a large number of us with FMS/CFIDS/ME - and the cause is unknown. I've pretty much ruled out other possibilities.
I very much appreciate your concern and the info though, it's important that if people were experiencing symptoms like mine to ensure this wasn't what was behind it, and it's something I have already done, and would also encourage others to do.
I feel for you, my partner has acne/boils and numerous skin issues ongoing, and I know how painful and unpleasant it can be. Not to mention you say you're dealing with multiple other health issues.
Definitely get that new yoga mat, one that looks great and smells good too! lol.
It can be good to indulge oneself in things that help us feel better, even if you're not using it right away it's there waiting for you.
Hmmmm.. I wonder if my favorite black sheepskin rug would make a good yoga mat :) I wouldn't be able to get out to a class anyways.
I think maybe just designating a 'space'/'mat' for 'yoga' to lay on and do the poses I can do, child, death, a little mild cobra - so I'm creating more 'intention' around what I am doing may allow me to get more out of it and deepen the experience.
I've found sometimes the trick to fulfillment when you can't do much is to really get all you can out of what you can do, no matter how little it is.
I know it's not the same... but have you thought of creating container or indoor gardening projects for yourself? It can be so nice to grow one's own food, even if it's just mixed salad greens and a tomato plant. You can get a lot of satisfaction out of growing a few kinds of salad greens and some basil and tomatoes for your own fresh organic salads. I know out of all the things we're growing in our garden it's perhaps what I appreciate the most.
Be gentle with self... and lets do yoga, let us know what kind of mat you get! :)
Girl, I have a garden at home. Thanks for the well wishing. I keep careful track of my diet. Weekends are for gluten, the weekdays are gluten free. What do they put in bread that makes me feel so alert? Yeah my boyfriend gets some boils too. :)
I'm going to indulge in a new yoga mat. I tend to stay in a lot. I'm repairing damage to my psychic boundaries caused by hanging out with a schizoaffective too long not to mention years of college drinking habits, even over-indulgence in caffeine. I'm doing better. I can shield myself in most situations now. I just take the time out to avoid people who drain my shields, like my dad.
We have a garden I don't always spend time in. Its because my dad is just plain aggressive at the oddest of moments. I avoid people like him. I'm fulfilled with my writing. I have found time this weekend to write my heart out on my novel. I'm making progress in a lot of ways I don't always think about. Thank you Leila.
That's great that you have access to a garden, it must be stressful having a dad acting unpredictable like that, I'd avoid him too!
Writing is great stuff... I find it often hits the spot as well. *smile*
you're most welcome, and thank you! *hugs*
This week on my blog I am talking about various ways or paths used to engage in yoga besides asana. If you are interested click here and see what it is about. You can subscribe on the right of the page. I don't sell information. I practice Raja Yoga and teach this method, but there is a lot to it besides twisting yourself into difficult positions. Also, you will see a bonus video I found this week of a practice for shoulder and neck pain. You can use as much or as little of the practice as you like, and a lot of it could technically be done in bed.
May all beings find their way free from suffering and the causes of suffering.