You don’t live with chronic symptoms such as pain, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia and the like for over 15 years and not develop any tricks. For my teenage and early adult years my symptoms were ignored by medical professionals and there was very little information about fibromyalgia out there. I had to come up with my own secret weapons for fighting fibromyalgia.
After pushing myself through about four years of trying to work full time and be “normal” I realised I couldn’t keep going that way. I was miserable, at 25 years old I felt more like a grandmother. So I began a whole life change.
Fast forward nine years: I have tried a multitude of things, some very big things like reducing my work hours and moving to a warmer climate, and lots of small things like trying many supplements and medicines and treatments.
I experience half the pain and fatigue levels I did back then. I sleep much better (I still have trouble, but it is a lot better!). My central nervous system has calmed right down and anxiety is mostly a thing of the past. I have three healthy boys aged 5, 3 and 1. And I am grateful every single day.
Of all of the things I have tried, what do I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone and everyone? What has the least side effects and most benefits and applications?
Yoga and meditation.
I use these to help me get to sleep; when I am stuck in that place in the middle of the night (you know the one- too sore to sleep, too exhausted to get up?); in the morning; during the day; in a car or plane; on the floor with a toddler or two next to me. Almost anywhere anytime.
There are many tools on offer under the umbrella term of “yoga”.
The three key ones for me:
- meditation and
- asana (poses)
It’s great to see that research is catching up with what practitioners have known for years. I have certainly experienced these myself.
Yoga helps with:
- Anxiety and much more.
Here’s the thing – I don’t do long classes (most of my practices are under 20 minutes), my body doesn’t speak pretzel (I don’t do advanced poses) and I pilfer the tools and use them when and how I need.
But no one really teaches us in this way. Early in 2019 I was trying to rebuild my practice and physical strength after a particularly trying pregnancy and modifying heavily around severe pelvis issues, but I could never seem to find the right class for me. Some of those “for chronic pain” classes on YouTube were way out of reach, even as a long time practitioner. Some of those “for chronic fatigue” classes were way too long for me. I was always having to make it up myself.
Then I noticed people who follow my blog and social media saying they couldn’t even try yoga because they wouldn’t even know where to start. And I thought that was a real waste as the tools are really useful.
So, being the pragmatic person I am, I took on the challenge of training to be a yoga teacher with three small children and a chronic illness. It sounds so crazy to say that, but I did it!
I made yoga and meditation my weapons but they are not secret.
In Foundations of Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue course I have made a beginner’s toolkit especially for those with chronic pain and fatigue so that they can “do” yoga and make their own toolkit to manage going forward. The goal is to end the course with tools they can use every day, forever.
- Early students are confirming what these tools did for me –
- They are helping them with sleep.
- With pain and with fatigue.
It isn’t about the perfect pose, it’s about using the pose and where we are on the journey with that pose to help us. It isn’t about meditation but using meditation as a tool for rest.
This has strengthened my resolve and I am on a mission to reclaim mindful movement so that we can use it to improve our quality of life and I’d be so delighted if you would join me. I hope my secret weapons for fighting fibromyalgia help you as well.
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