Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yoga and Me and Multiple Sclerosis

Where do I begin?

Yesterday I went to my first Beginners Yoga class. It was....interesting, to say the least. I wanted to try it because I often hear people say how enjoyable and relaxing yoga can be.

Yeah right! It may truly be that way but for me, the first class was extremely difficult. Lets picture it, shall we...

  • Me. Ready to stretch and relax and enjoy the next hour.
  • Old Man. Telling me how much I'll love Yoga.
  • Girl My Age. Saying, "the end is the best part". I should've taken that as a hint.
  • Older Lady. No words.
  • Instructor. "It's a lot of stretching but completely different from Pilates".

I've done Pilates before and was under the impression that Yoga was easier. WRONG! The reality....

  • Me. Shaking life a leaf 15 minutes in. It's a one hour class.
  • Old Man. Holdin' his ground, no problems there.
  • Girl My Age. Solid as a rock! (Insert sarcastic curse word here)
  • Old Lady. I got her on flexibility but she's holding strong too.
  • Instructor. Solid. Of course.

Here's the thing, my right leg is weaker than my left. My neuro pointed this out a couple of months back and I just thought, "Mmm whatever!". I didn't believe him but it was proven in class yesterday.

Another problem, my coordination isn't what it use to be and when my eyes are closed, it's even worse. So in the beginning of the class when the instructor said, "Close your eyes as much as possible" I thought, "Sure!". But when I did it, it was scary. I tried to fight through it but in the end, not wanting to embarrass myself (by falling over and taking out Girl My Age at the same time) won.

So I continued on and finished the class in a lot of pain (I think I pulled something. Or everything.) but feeling good about what I accomplished. And the end really was the best part.

We were lying on our backs practicing our breathing techniques and completely relaxing our bodies. All of a sudden, someone grabs my ankles. The instructor was going around and giving a little tug to help loosen everything and get everyone to completely relax. She then came back around and did the same thing to my neck.

Minutes later, I felt a warm drop on my forehead. At first I thought it was wax but when the same thing was put in both of my palms, I realized they were warm rocks. Very nice.

We spent the next few minutes relaxing and then we were done. As I was leaving the class I said, "Thanks!" to the instructor and she said, "You're welcome. How'd you like it." I was honest and told her it was a lot more difficult than I expected it to be and that I couldn't stop shaking. She said, "Well, you did really well which is why I sped up the pace a bit. I usually don't do that with people who are doing Yoga for the first time but you did really good". Very nice compliment.

There's an Advanced Yoga class at my gym but I'm pretty sure I won't be walking into that one anytime soon. Even though it was very difficult and every inch of my body aches right now, I'm going back next week.

Oh God! Did I just say that?

Yes, I did. And yes, I am. It's good for me, good for my body, and it makes me feel good that I can 'hang' with the rest of them. And maybe I'll get better and leaner and stronger along the way. We'll see.

My least favorite move, Awkward Chair.

1 comment:

Julia said...

I love yoga, but since my first major attack I find myself shaking when I close my eyes, when I look up, when I bend down, when I bend over, when I do anything but stand up straight. I keep telling my body to calm down but it is not really working. Oh well, I laugh and move on. There is nothing I can do about my shakes at the moment.

One thing about Yoga is that it not only works you out, but it also allows some deep relaxation (which we need sometimes). Keep it up, you will be in the advanced class in no time.