more balanced, more bendy

by tinglyfeeling on February 16, 2009

I started going to yoga again, in the interest of finding non-pharmaceutical remedies for my MS symptoms. A lot has been written about yoga’s benefits for MS sufferers, but it seemed to help me in an unexpected—at least to me—way.

For the last year, I’ve been forced to be very aware of what my body’s doing. All those little points from my scalp to my toes that change in new and vexing ways every day. I step into the shower every morning and feel the water dully hitting the skin between my shoulder blades, but I can’t feel how hot the water is. It’s never hot enough on that patch of skin. Or how some days the tops of my knees are so numb the muscles turn to jelly. Other days, it’s my hands, unable to firmly grasp a pen. Then there’s the random pain I sometimes feel on my upper left arm, like I’ve received a flu shot or a particularly vicious Charlie horse. Or how my nose and the skin around my sinuses go numb when I’m congested. All of these things remind me that I am no longer in control of my own body.

But at yoga Saturday, as I was moving through the various poses, I listened to the instructor as she called out the tiny adjustments we could make to perfect our alignment: Tuck in your pelvis. Square your hips. Feel your tailbone reaching for the ceiling. Root your toes and the balls of your feet as if you were a tree with just as much mass below the ground as above.

And I found that I was good at listening to her and making these tiny adjustments. Good at feeling—and knowing—how correct my movements were. How balanced I could be. In Tree Pose, with one leg bent so that my foot was on the inside of my knee, and with arms extended, I didn’t put my foot down once. Then with Dancing Shiva, with that same foot pulled behind me, my back arched and free arm reaching up, I was in control. Focused. And it gave me hope that if I could channel this kind of concentration into these subtle movements and not fall down, if I could really listen to my body, that maybe I can find the same focus when dealing with my MS.

One tiny, well-balanced adjustment at a time.

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  • http://www.sevayoga.net/ Michele Fife

    Namaste!
    This looks a lot like my foot. :)
    My husband took this photo of me, I imagine that you got it from his flickr site.
    Thank you for sharing it with your readers.

  • http://www.sevayoga.net Michele Fife

    Namaste!
    This looks a lot like my foot. :)
    My husband took this photo of me, I imagine that you got it from his flickr site.
    Thank you for sharing it with your readers.

  • http://www.tinglyfeeling.com/ tinglyfeeling

    Hi! I did get it from his flickr site. The photo links back to the flickr page and the alt text gives him credit. Hope he doesn’t mind–it said it was Creative Commons and I liked it better than all the other CC yoga pictures, so that’s why I chose it.

    Let me know if he’d like me to change anything. And thank him for taking such beautiful photos. ;-)

  • http://www.tinglyfeeling.com/ tinglyfeeling

    Hi! I did get it from his flickr site. The photo links back to the flickr page and the alt text gives him credit. Hope he doesn’t mind–it said it was Creative Commons and I liked it better than all the other CC yoga pictures, so that’s why I chose it.

    Let me know if he’d like me to change anything. And thank him for taking such beautiful photos. ;-)

  • http://beyonditall.net/ carla

    I am looking forward to doing Yoga again. Right now, whenever I raise my head or lower it, I get very dizzy, unstable and spastic (falling, etc). It’s good to know that its something many people with MS can do!

  • http://beyonditall.net carla

    I am looking forward to doing Yoga again. Right now, whenever I raise my head or lower it, I get very dizzy, unstable and spastic (falling, etc). It’s good to know that its something many people with MS can do!

  • http://www.tinglyfeeling.com/ tinglyfeeling

    carla – have you thought of finding a place that does one-on-one yoga therapy? there’s a place here in seattle that offers that, and i’m thinking of trying it. i’m assuming the instructor would craft our sessions around my symptoms.

    maybe you have something like that in your area that can give you some of the benefits of yoga without the dizzy spells? i hope that symptom doesn’t last long for you. sounds awful.

    xo

  • http://www.tinglyfeeling.com/ tinglyfeeling

    carla – have you thought of finding a place that does one-on-one yoga therapy? there’s a place here in seattle that offers that, and i’m thinking of trying it. i’m assuming the instructor would craft our sessions around my symptoms.

    maybe you have something like that in your area that can give you some of the benefits of yoga without the dizzy spells? i hope that symptom doesn’t last long for you. sounds awful.

    xo

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