Wednesday 8 May 2019

GUEST POST by Donna for M.E. Awareness Week - How Yoga has helped me

A blonde haired woman with a tattoo on her leg sat crossed legged on her bed in a yoga pose
Yoga has been my saviour throughout my nearly 30 years of living with M.E., but it isn’t the “normal” yoga that we see and know about. My yoga is practiced on my bed, no standing, no mat and no long routines. This enables me to save energy, but still stretch and release aches, while getting the benefits of yoga. 

The yoga poses help release my aches and pains which can get worse the more I have to rest or can’t do much, I pick and choose yoga poses which specifically help my aches and carry the poses out on my bed, holding the poses for as long as I need to get relief. I find carrying out a pose or two throughout the day helps the build-up of tension, so that my aches and pains don’t get worse over time. 

Meditation is yoga for the mind. Our mind constantly uses energy 24/7 even as we sleep, and when we have limit energy it’s no wonder, we feel overwhelmed and suffer brain fog and feel exhausted and when living with M.E. so many emotions and frustrations constantly whirl around our already exhausted mind. Meditation helps me save mental and emotional energy, when I can’t do many yoga poses or have a bad M.E. day, I know I can rest and go into stillness of meditation to give my mind a rest and some space. 

Breathing is a form of yoga and meditation, we breathe every second of our life, yet most of us don’t breathe fully or correctly as we get older, stopping and taking a few minutes throughout the day to consciously take some deep full healing breaths can be so calming and healing to mind and body, when I can’t do much or struggle to move I breathe more, when I feel anxiety I breathe deeper. If you can’t practice yoga or meditation, practice breathing. 

Yoga, meditation and breathing has helped me accept, forgive and find ways to live despite my illness, it’s connected me to myself, to honour my body, to avoid pushing my limits, to be gentle. While it started as poses to ease the aches, the journey has led me deeper into a more yoga lifestyle which has helped me learn to rest fully and not feel guilty for resting, it’s helped me to pace and know my limits, it’s taught me who I am, to slow down and appreciate life. 

There is so much mis-understanding regarding yoga for M.E. because of the lack of education on what yoga really is and the right and wrong yoga for M.E. Unfortunately, yoga is seen and known as a form of exercise because of what we see online, on DVD's and in classes but that is just one type of yoga from thousands and the yoga we need to avoid with M.E. But there are yoga practices that are safe and gentle such as Restorative, Yin and even yoga in bed and even if you are limited to practicing the yoga poses, know that yoga is not about the poses, yoga is in fact a lifestyle made up of components such as mindfulness, meditation, breathing, flow of life (pacing), rest, diet and movement (poses), it is a gentle way of living and being for all round wellbeing for body, mind and soul and it’s been my way of peacefully living with M.E. for nearly 30 years. 

Yoga, My Bed & M.E

  • Donna's website can be found ➔ here.
  • To buy her book click ➔ here  - I personally have this book and find it so helpful. It gives advice on what gentle yoga poses are best for you on that given day and Donna also share's 5 and 10 minute yoga sessions which you can do as well as 'yoga for a bad day'.
  • Donna's YouTube channel I'd also recommend to learn about yoga and learn some yoga to help you and it's not just for people with M.E. but it can be for anyone living with a chronic illness