I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) more than 20 years ago. For those who don’t know about MS is an autoimmune and neurological disease, consisting in the immune system attacking the Myelin (a substance that covers the neurons and helps in the transmission of electrical impulses or messages in the brain and spine). It’s one of those invisible diseases that doesn’t necessarily show the symptoms which are usually very hard to explain or understand even for someone who has have it for so many years.
Some of the symptoms are muscle spasms, pain, numbness in the limbs, vision problems, weakness, balance problems, cognitive issues, lack of coordination, difficulty with the movement, muscle atrophy, fatigue and speaking problems. These symptoms occur by relapses or episodes, so it’s completely unpredictable when you will have one. Most patients have one to two per year, depending on the type of MS they have.
My story with Yoga practice
My doctor recommended me to stop any kind of workout, or exercises because heat can worsen the symptoms. So the only recommendation was swimming in a cool, calm pace or practice Tai Chi or Yoga. Of course that the doctor didn’t know what was yoga about, he just heard that people who practice didn’t sweat because it’s slow. I tried everything, swimming, physiotherapy, Tai Chi and Yoga.
The first time I went to a yoga class and mention the teacher I had MS she just said do whatever you can. The truth is that even Savasana was a challenge for me, because of the spasms, involuntary movements, and lack of concentration. After a few classes, I felt more and more frustrated with it so I quit. I gave Yoga a second chance and learn about Pranayama and Meditation, that was much more appropriate for my situation at that point. It helped with the stress, depression and anxiety also product of the MS.
Years and years passed and suddenly after getting worse and worse, I just started to feel a little more strength and ability to move so I decided to give Yoga another chance. I found a yoga studio where they practised Iyengar style. It was just love at first sight, for the first time I felt I could get into some poses, I used lots of props to help me with the practice and I started getting all the benefits. I could always adjust and find a way of getting into the posture, there were also lots of restorative poses that I used to recover myself.
After some months of practice and lots of patience with myself and my body, I decided I wanted to go deeper into my practice. I started to practice at home almost every day, slowly, little steps but with perseverance. I remember my first planks a few years back were against the wall, yes a horizontal wall.
I thought about my improvements every day, even if people could not see them, I knew I could move my hand a little faster, or I walked the whole day without falling. It felt great! You can read more about my recovery process on my personal blog.
Then I moved to Singapore and kept my daily practice for months and months. Until I found Tirisula Yoga studio and started practising more seriously. Twice a week in the studio and the rest of days at home. After a year I decided to do the YTT and here I am, learning how to help other people in their practice and also improving myself slowly but constantly.
So don’t stop practising, find what is best for you and always challenge yourself, it’s the only way to go beyond your limits.