YOGA and LUPUS, taming the wolf …

3rd week into this YTT journey … Master PAALU says “You need to trust your body!”. Hum … How could I trust my body when, as a woman, I cannot conceive and carry a baby without medical assistance? How could I trust my body when my immune system is not able to fight a simple virus? How could I trust my body when it gives me joints pain when I get a little bit stressed at work?.. I started to get emotional that week thinking I might never be able to “trust my body” and do most of the postures.

I was diagnosed with Lupus about 10 years ago but it took 4 years from the first flare to the proper diagnosis in 2010. Lupus is a chronic immune system disease that “attacks” normal and healthy tissues damaging the joints, the skin, the blood and vital organs such as the heart and the kidneys. Lupus means “wolf” in Latin because in some ways of the disease, the patient may develop a “wolf mask” on the face.

There is no permanent cure for Lupus, treatments can only help the patients to relieve symptoms (fever, hair loss, rash, extreme fatigue, etc…) and protect organs by decreasing the inflammation.
Those treatments (anticoagulant, hormones, anti-inflammatory, etc…) can affect your body and your mood. Patients may even need to go through surgeries to “repair” their damaged bodies.

A lot of medical studies connect Lupus and Stress. Stress doesn’t cause Lupus but triggers the activation of the symptoms meaning you have no choice but managing your stress level and emotion cycles.
Your first step as a Lupus patient is to “tame the wolf”. So I decided in 2018 to start yoga thinking it could help me to manage my stress level. The teacher was very inspirational and I enjoyed the physical workout.
I also adapted my diet to a more healthy and homemade food. I came to know during this YYT that there is a name in yoga for that kind of diet: Sattva! Food definitely plays a role in your immune system especially if it is dysfunctional.

But the Covid-19 turned our lives upside-down this year and yoga was my only “routine” in the chaos at home. I signed up for this YYT, not really knowing what I was getting myself into!

First thing to do before signing up for these high physical 2 months was getting approval from the hematologist and physio. They actually highly recommended the practice of yoga:
• Hatha and Ashtanga yoga are recommended but not hot yoga.
• Asanas can help to slow down arthritis. Joints are usually very stiff with Lupus patients. But it is ok, in yoga there is always a variation in the pose that will be suitable for you.
• Fatigue is a constant symptom in Lupus patients, pranayama relaxes your mind and helps with improving your energy level.
• Yoga nidra is also recommended as a restorative practice during all lupus stages.

Halfway through the training, I realised what was the next step for me: Learn to accept and appreciate my body with its scars and limits, reconnect with it. This journey is a healing and accepting process. I had the chance to join a very fun and supportive group, the experience would have been totally different without them 🙂

Being able to do those fancy poses may come along the way, getting the certification would be a great reward, teaching might be an option later on, but as Master Sree says “Do Kriya, don’t do Karma”!