Learning about my body through yoga
But although you may not think it, exercise could be the very thing that helps to manage your fatigue, lift your mood and de-stress.
I was concerned that exercising when I felt fatigued would wear me out even more. In my experience, it’s an effort, but I’ve found it’s an effort worth making to create the long term habit of moving my body and in turn changing my energy levels.
How I got into yoga
A year into my MS journey, a friend of mine suggested yoga and I thought I’d give it a shot. I thought it was all about meditating for hours, and for people with a lot of spare time and inexplicable flexibility. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My yoga practice is about connecting with my breath and body, moving within my limits and learning what those are for me. It’s not about comparing myself to the person next to me or over-exerting myself in an attempt to wedge my foot behind my ear. It’s simply about me and no one else.
Listening to my body
I’ve been learning incredible things about my body through my yoga practice and this has increased my self-awareness when doing other exercise too. I know I’ve pushed myself too far when I’ve done high intensity exercise because my vision slows down - I know that’s my body telling me to stop.After a long day at work or running around picking up the kids, the last thing you can feel like doing is going to the gym or a class to get your sweat on. Especially if you have MS and your fatigue has been pushing you to your limits all day.
I know focussing on my breathing while I stretch helps to relieve tension in my shoulders and I know working my core leaves me feeling stronger.
Touching my toes is easy sometimes, and not so much other days. I’m wobbly on days when I’m tired and there’s no way I can stand on one leg, but that means I need to pay attention to my body and give myself the rest I need.
The feeling I get after I’ve stepped out of class, the gym, or after a walk on my lunch break is something that keeps me going. My mind feels clearer and it helps me to process my thoughts. I can get back to whatever I’m doing with a fresher perspective and I feel more productive and lively.
Sometimes, fatigue will get the better of me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t move my body in a way that doesn’t drain me, such as doing some light bends and stretches on the carpet.
Get active your way
Do what works for you: it isn’t about the roadrunner next to you on the treadmill, or the lads lifting 100kg by the mirrors shouting and cheering.
It’s about what makes you feel good, movement that inspires you to love yourself for who you are and makes you feel alive. Get active in the way that suits you best and keep smiling.
About Noor: You can follow Noor’s mindfulness journey on Instagram @trailoflight. She is always ready for the next adventure, eating her way around new places and loves to get in touch with her body through yoga and exercise. Read more from Noor on her blog.