How yoga helps me shift my focus and take care of myself

Dealing with pain and fatigue is frustrating business. I’ll admit it makes me angry at my body most days, even though I try to find the neccessary self-compassion. In addition to fibromyalgia I have a history of eating disorders, and some of the thought processes still remain. I still feel like it’s me (my mind) vs my body. That’s not a sustainable or healing way of thinking, and I work on that every day. One of the most important tools I have is yoga.

Disclaimer: I’ve read a few books on yoga, attended a couple of classes, but all in all I do it my own way.

Just breathe

When I do yoga I have to shift the focus in my head. First of all, everything has to slow down. When I focus on my breathing, I have to turn inwards. I clear my mind of all other things, and just feel the breathing in my body. It’s the only time I feel like my mind and my body is one entity. When I do other exercises, like weight training, I bring this breathing with me.

The movements are slow and follow my breathing. This helps me connect with the muscles, tendons and joints I’m working on. I’ll be aware of pain and limited movement and feel compassion, I guess. It’s hard to explain. At least it makes me want to get better, not fight the body.

Healing vs competition

I’ve played sports all my life, and exercise has always been about competition. Even if I’m just competing against myself. When I do yoga, though, it’s about healing, not competing. Of course, I do want to get better at it, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to make my body feel less painful and limited. I try to bring this with me to other exercises, too. As long as I’m at a low point, as I am now, that’s pretty easy. I know I’ll start competing against myself again when (or if) I get better, though.

How I use yoga

I make sure I have a clean space in my living room for the yoga mat, and that the temperature is slightly warmer than normal. Sometimes I light scented candles. I’ve picked yoga poses specifically for the problem areas of my body. I start off by centering on my breathing, and then slowly move from body part to body part. The whole exercise takes me about 25 minutes. Sometimes I’m not able to do all of it, but then I just do what I can. When I’m done, I always feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted. Most of the time my yoga session also helps my continous anxiety, and I can breathe free for a while after I’m done. To me, yoga is a medicine that helps with pain, fatigue and anxiety. 

If you want to try out yoga you should have a look at Yoga with Adriene on Youtube.