Archive | March, 2014

Why I love yoga.

7 Mar

laosmain “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” Iyengar

 

People sometimes ask me what is most difficult when you have MS. For me, there are three main  challenges.

First, living with uncertainties all the time. Not knowing what will come next. Of course, none of us knows what’s going to happen next but when you live with MS, this uncertainty is present all the time and can have immediate and devastating effects on your daily life. Everything is possible. Nothing is certain. I learned to accept this, without thinking the worse will happen!

Second challenge – a huge one- is to feel good in my body despite MS. I had always thought that to be happy and feel good in my mind, I had to feel good in my body. That’s why I loved the gym. Feeling my muscles get stronger, more flexible gave me real pleasure and appeased my mind. Suddenly, my body was destroying itself. How not to be angry? An MS nurse once told me to consider MS as a friend, not as an enemy. This was a great piece of advice but easier said than done!

The third challenge is to leave “space” for MS in my life without letting it take over. MS needs space in terms of energy. I try, as best as I can, to keep 20% of my energy just to manage MS. If I don’t respect this limit, it backfires. MS is a very demanding friend indeed! I must admit that I struggled a lot to find a compromise between the part of me that wants to push back my limits and the part that knows I shouldn’t overdo it!

Yoga has helped me deal with these three challenges and I am absolutely convinced that without yoga, I wouldn’t be as healthy and happy as I am now.

Thanks to yoga, I learned to use the breath to quieten my mind, improve my balance and strengthen my body. I also became aware of the poses that alleviate MS symptoms. I got to know which poses not to do when I feel vulnerable and which ones give me comfort. My personal experience motivated me to become a Yoga Teacher. I first did a 200-hour Teacher training with FLY and started to teach Vinyasa flow classes. However, I felt more and more drawn towards Yoga Therapy and decided to further my training in India. I completed a 500-hour advanced training in the Paramanand Institute of Yoga Sciences & Research.

Thanks to this training I understand why the poses I intuitively found useful are good and how to use yoga to address specific issues. I discovered new “ways” to balance energy based on yoga and ayurveda teachings. The range of yogic tools available is amazing: from breathing to asanas (postures), mudras (hand yoga) or meditation.

The Yoga therapy retreats I organise are based on this experiential learning. Each day focuses on what particularly issue: coping with fatigue, stress, spasticity etc. The aim is to give the participants various “tools” to manage their symptoms. I keep learning, exploring and sharing. I hope to encourage people with MS to give yoga a try, even if they believe it is too easy or too hard. You have nothing to lose and so much to win. And remember that everybody can find something that helps! As long as you can breathe, you can do yoga!

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