Monthly Archives: October 2014

OUT OF BALANCE

I wrote in my journal this morning that I have gone 33 days without a flare and while I’m writing away in my journal I’m feeling as though there is so much I want to write but nothing is coming to the surface for me to write about. I went for a walk and did some weight training thinking that the sweaty morning would be what I needed to make me feel whole. After an hour and half of sweating, grunting, and working my body I was still feeling out of sorts. I had a yoga class planned but I got there early so I could spend a little time on my mat by myself before the rest of the class came in. The Sunday morning group are delightful people who I enjoy speaking with at great length but I needed a little time by myself in a comfortable environment with a little quiet. I got to the studio unrolled my mat and started in Mountain Pose or Tadasana.

I must say ahead of time that with my teacher training I am working on my Mountain Pose all the time. Getting the triangle in my feet just right, laying all 10 toes on the mat equally, locking my legs without locking my knees by really using my quads and hamstrings. Tilting my tailbone towards the floor, lifting my abdomen. Opening my heart center by seeking my shoulders downward. Pulling my chin back, lifting my head ever so slightly, and yes breathing. This is how I have learned this posture, this is how I spend hours practicing this posture. This is how I see me doing this posture really well.

This morning I got on my mat, rooted my feet and felt my body do what it wanted to do, not the words I speak so quietly in my own head about this posture. This is not my time to teach or be taught, this was a few minutes on my mat by myself to let my body do what it needs to do. I knew I wasn’t in a perfect posture, but no posture is perfect. The beauty of yoga is that we can always be changing our postures based on what our bodies, minds and spirits need. There are many times in my life when I need to be perfect or want to perfect, whatever that perfect looks like for me at the time. In the yoga studio I do not seek that perfection. I can be exactly who I am, a non-perfect woman, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and yoga practitioner. The beauty of practicing alone is that there is truly no judgment. I do not see myself, no one sees me either and I am doing exactly what my body wants.

I felt really out of balance this morning and honestly needed a good cry on my mat. What am I sad about? I have no idea, I rarely have time to be sad and I rarely find myself in a situation where I am sad. I could be confusing sadness for honest and great fatigue. I know that I’m out of balance and haven’t felt great since my flare which was about 37 days ago. I don’t know what brought that flare on and I don’t know why it is taking so long for my body to get back to my base line. I have tried extra sleep, I have tried physical therapy. I have tried hours upon hours of quiet time on my yoga mat. OK, that is not true, I am on my yoga mat for hours upon hours but that is because I’m in teacher training and have to train, practice, and train some more. I am exhausted with life and feel so fatigued that I want to cry. This feeling out of balance has gone on long enough and now I’m desperate to find that balance I need so much. During my class I was using a mantra “I will find balance” I said it over and over at different periods of that 90 minutes.

As my husband and I went about our day doing chores I was saying in my mind, “I will find balance” and as we walked the golf course playing for one of our final days I was saying “I will find balance” the more I say it the more I will believe it. This is part of my living yoga, not just learning it or teaching it but really living it. We all find ourselves out of balance. Sometimes it is for short periods of time and we find our way back with ease. Other times it is for long periods of time and we aren’t sure how to find our way back. I am living in the world of unbalanced and I realized that being “desperate” is not the way to find my way back but to actually start moving myself back to a place of balance.

This evening I’m giving my body exactly what it needs which means I will sit quietly, by myself, watching a sad movie of my choice without judgment and just cry if I need to. I won’t force it because if I find that the cry is not really what I need but more just some quiet time there is no need to cry I don’t want to force it. Finding balance is going with the flow, being in the moment, and letting things happen the way they should. I don’t want to dictate how to get back my balance, I want to feel the balance make its way back natural. I just hope it happens soon.

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BACK TO PT

This past year I was feeling so strong and yes even a tiny bit arrogant because day after day went by without a flare and watching those days tick by made me think that I could focus my energy on strength through weight training, more spinning, and lots more yoga which I have been doing but in the process I gave up my physical therapy all together. I didn’t just cut back I cut it out and looking back at this past year I think that may have been a mistake. I was using regular PT as a way to keep my body healthy and keep good energy flow from feet to jaw. Taking the year off I didn’t realize that my body was falling out of alignment again and things were getting twisted. However, 4 weeks ago I had my first flare after 440 days and my body really hasn’t recovered fully. I am back to doing my normal weight training, spinning, Insanity, walking, and with my yoga training I’m doing yoga every second that I’m not doing something else so a big increase in yoga. Someone looking at me from the outside would think that I was right back to normal. I call it base line because I will not be normal, but my body has not gotten back to base line. My hips, hands, and jaw are still very stiff and very sore. I can function just fine so I’m not still in flare but I can tell something has changed.

It could be the change in the season, it could be I’m not doing Bikram anymore so my body doesn’t have the warmth it had for 10 years prior, it could be that I’m pushing it harder with spinning and Insanity that I wasn’t doing previously, but I refuse to believe that I’m just getting older so things are going to be stiff and sore.

I decided it was worth a trip back to the PT to see what they thought and it was obvious to them that my body found itself out of alignment again. My shoulders are not even, my hips are not even and my posture has slipped a bit even with the hours I’m spending in Mountain Pose. What does this mean? It means that I need the PT to get back into alignment and that PT may be a piece of my health puzzle that I always need. I started with a couple times a week to get started and will drop to once a week shortly and after a few weeks when things seem to be back to base line I can figure out how to work it into my regular life again. That will mean something else will have to give and since I’m making my life about yoga, I am certain that yoga will not be sacrificed. I also need the weight training to stay strong and healthy, and don’t’ forget walking, we all need to do more walking, so that leaves spinning and Insanity. I love spinning and can do it first thing in the morning so it comes down to my lunch time Insanity class. As much as I enjoy Insanity I will not be able to do it as often as I have been but it is probably better for my body to have a break.

Our bodies need breaks and I think my body is telling me it is time for a break. I am willing to listen and do what needs to be done in order to find that nice balance again. It might take some time but all I have is time. My MCTD is not going anywhere and each day that passes by is just a reminder that I need to balance the autoimmune with good health. The good health comes in the form of nutrition, exercise, rest, recover, sleep and flexibility.

YOGA TRAINING

My life is on a new path and I am very excited about it. We have moved into a new month and October is one of my favorite months. Even though it isn’t summer hot in October, I still love the beauty of this month and as the trees change and get ready for winter so do I. Not only am I enjoying this month to prepare for winter but I am also using this month to prepare for new journeys in life.

Last night I started yoga teacher training and feel so blessed to be given this opportunity. This will not be easy and the commitment is big but the life changing experience is worth all of it. I will write about it as much as I can find the time to because I believe this experience is probably going to be one of my most challenging, rewarding, and beneficial of my life.

I will give a little back ground but not too much as many of you have been reading and know my story pretty well. The brief version is that a couple of years after being diagnosed with MCTD I made major life style changes with regard to nutrition, exercise, stress, sleep, and anything else that my doctor and physical therapist asked me to do at the time. I was feeling really desperate and wanted to feel some relief from pain, stiffness, soreness as well as feel some hope that I could manage a life with MCTD. I turned to Bikram yoga. I walked into a Bikram studio, felt that 105 degree, 70% humidity room and realized there was hope. My body instantly felt looser with the heat and the stretches made me realize with a regular practice I could do this. I committed to the Bikram practice and went 5 days a week for a little over 9 years. I had made other changes in my life but at that point I knew yoga was for me. I went into all different kinds of studios, hot vinyassa, regular vinyassa, spent time at Kripalu, tried YIN, restorative, and many other types of yoga.

As I was feeling better, yoga was becoming medicine for me and I was talking to everyone who would listen about my positive experience with yoga. I realized after a while that I wanted to actually teach others the principals of yoga and all the benefits of a regular practice. However, I did not want to train with Bikram or teach Bikram yoga full time so I spent some time figuring out what kind of yoga I wanted to teach. I committed to the studio near my home for easy access and have a regular practice there and at home now. The owner of the studio and my yoga instructor offered a teaching training course that started last night. I was thrilled, and thought the universe was trying to tell me something so I signed up.

We are working professionals who have commitments, responsibilities, and families that also require our time so we are doing this slowly, regularly, and weekly. Instead of me getting my training done in 8 weekends it will take me nearly a year but the way I see it I have spent all these years working towards this moment so no need to rush the moment I am in. After last night’s training I feel so incredible great about the decision I have made and can’t wait to share my new journey with you my readers as well as the individuals in my life. Through this experience I may find another person who is desperate for hope and balance and I can help them too. This is going to be life changing in so many ways and I’m ready to embrace them all.