Move that body or lose that body!
Myis exhausted, , sore, tender, stiff, and some days unbearably painful. I have been practicing off and on for years. It was only recently that I realized this should be practiced every single day to help alleviate the pain, stiffness, and fatigue of muscles and spine.
The Iyengar method focuses on alignment of the physical being through various poses (called asanas). This method also focuses on breath control while in each pose (asana). I really like Iyengar because you hold your pose much longer than in other methods. There isn’t really very much Vinyasa flow in this practice. Vinyasa flow is the fluid-like movements going from one asana to the next. Remember, poses are called asanas. With the Iyengar method, each asana is held for a period of time while getting the body into the proper pose and alignment. My body reacts in a positive way to holding the poses rather than moving in a fluid motion from pose to pose.
Another reason why I much prefer Iyengar is due to the use of props such as blocks for support, a belt (think bathrobe tie) to help stretch muscles you might not be flexible enough to stretch yet, and blankets or pillows used for a little added tailbone support. I add in a little Vinyasa flow occasionally through a class to practice mindful breathing and have a routine of sorts. It feels fabulous to have a “routine” and move about from one pose to the next (think a choreographed aerobics routine, but with yoga). I am just not skilled enough in my poses to feel comfortable creating a routine on my own so I generally practice breathing and do a variety of about 20 poses while holding each for a few minutes.
It is much easier for me to practice at home, early in the morning when the house is quiet. While going to class is definitely pleasurable, finding the time and scheduling it in during the day is more difficult. So for now, a quiet space at home is working out just fine. Also, I have been using a book called Hatha Yoga Illustrated by Martin Kirk, Brooke Boon, and Daniel DiTuro. I use the website and I purchased the book about five your six years ago.
The book is fantastic. It has step-by-step photos and written instructions for each pose. If I follow this book, I could practice for 30 minutes or 60 minutes depending on how my body feels on any given day. I never practice for less than 30-minutes though. It really takes that long for my body to warm up, loosen up, and my brain and thoughts to become focused. I feel stronger, leaner, taller, more in tune with my own self and people around me. I am more flexible and less pained. The step-by-step instruction is exceptional. It makes it very easy to practice at home.
Another little ditty I found is a book and website about yoga for Multiple Sclerosis patients. (Link below) http://www.yogams.com/
Hopefully others of you out there are taking this wonderful gentle practice to help keep your body in flowing, moving, working order. For my personal case, my neurologist recommended yoga for my body. Please ask your own doctor about practicing yoga yourself. Do not just begin. Each spinal cord is different!
Remember when things were that simple? You could hop on the trike and hit the open road? The breeze blowing through your short, not-yet-grown-in-hair? Yea… neither do I, but it feels good to look at the photos and pretend to remember when that may have been. It couldn’t have been too long ago because at some point the hair grows in and we’re able to dress up that gorgeous wind-blown hair.
And then something goes awry and we need to call in our friends to back us up and open that can of Whoop-ass we’ve had tucked away for years. We never knew we had that can of Whoop-ass. We maybe thought it was a can of left-over PlayDoh or the Hanging Monkeys game. But evidently we all have Whoop-ass in some form or another. Mine comes in the form of strength. Health and fitness. People who workout. Keep their bodies strong.
Now, wait a minute. I said bodies. Not mind. And I realize he wears his name of his shirt. That’s for his benefit. Not yours or mine.
So I called in a few reinforcements when the going got tough recently. For the first time in my life I realized that in this world of crazy, I, the sane one may very well be one the edge of insanity. BUT luckily, I was pulled back from the edge of crazy and found out it was just Multiple Sclerosis. Whew. What a relief. My mind is not nuts. My world is nuts on occasion. My mind is fine. It is simply the added bonus of mind-meld from Multiple Sclerosis that is making it seem like the crazy is encroaching upon me when in fact is is not at all.
Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis. Let me say it a few times. I have Multiple Sclerosis. There. It’s out of my system. Well, not out of my system, but out of my system if you will. I’m not a sickie. Not a complainer. Not lazy. Not a bummer. So this diagnosis explains a lot for me and my close family.
Working in the health & fitness quasi-entertainment industry has helped me manage the Multiple Sclerosis symptoms over the last decade which is why I only recently received the diagnosis. People like ^^^^^^^ Mikey are the ones who inspire people like me to exercise everyday. Okay, four, maybe five days a week. The point is, working with the people I work with have made it very easy to keep Multiple Sclerosis manageable. I admit that I have been in a drunken stupor four the last month since I received the diagnosis and have let some things slide on the responsibility scale. However, it is the people like ^^^^^^ Mikey in my life who said, “Get up, girl. Move that body. Vegetarian – not good enough. Time to be a vegan. Move that body. Move. That. Body. or Lose. That. Body.”
So here I am one month later and six doctor visits in, more testing to go due to an unexpected spinal cord issue that was found as well, but the MS symptoms are going to be manageable, I believe wholeheartedly, due to a healthy diet, consistent exercise, and the strength of the people in my life who make me strong.
My baby, who happens to be taller than I, is the first one to say get that Yoga mat out and let’s stretch it out while we watch Pretty Little Liars and the Mentalist. She rocks, people. She will rock MS right out of you too if you let her. My tall baby is the first person to help me out of a chair on the days my body can’t do it alone. She is the first person to grab swimsuits for the gym swim. She is a-w-e-s-o-m-e. And sane.
My lovey, who happens to have more longevity on this planet that I, is the first one to say let’s eat it raw, vegan! He is the best vegan cook on the planet. He is a shopper, chopper, chef, experimenter, supporter of anything new, he is truly amazing. He is so supportive. He is always looking for new ways to cook food, find new things to reduce inflammation in the body, try new recipes, and he eats whatever I try to prepare. That in and of itself is a sacrifice. He always says it was delicious. He is wonderful. And borderline sane, but not, but maybe he is.
So I’m opening a can of Whoop-ass on the Multiple Sclerosis.