While the EMDR I recently started seems to be working, the sensations in my head and neck feel physical rather than just emotional; so I want to get more physical about it.
When I first came down with CFS in 2008, I had been going to the local gym and doing strenuous workouts (well, strenuous to me, given that I was a relatively new gym-goer) three times per week. I knew something was wrong when the cold-that-just-wouldn’t-go-away hit and I passed out during a personal training session. I went downhill fast, quit my gym membership and tried a casual Yoga class at the studio next door to the gym instead. I couldn’t make it though the yoga class either. That’s when I really knew I was really screwed.
Since that unpleasant experience, I’ve only done Yoga only occasionally. I’ve been resisting committing to it partly because of that bad experience, partly because I don’t really want to do the work, partly because it’ll cost money, and partly because I’m really inflexible and find yoga uncomfortable.
The fact that I’m really inflexible is an excellent reason to do Yoga though, not to avoid it.
I’m told that to recover from CFS you really need to listen to what your body is telling you, and an inflexible body is crying out for some stretching activity. Combine that with the mindfulness meditation aspects of Yoga, and it seems like the ideal solution to rewiring my autonomic nervous system. I’m confident I can make it through a 1 hour Yoga class if I substitute some Child Pose’s or just lie on my back when I’m really feeling beat.
I also get that for Yoga to work, you have to practise regularly. That’s why Yoga devotees call it Yoga practise. Given that commitments and routine are calming to our nervous systems, it makes sense to make regular Yoga a part of my life now.
One of my close friends is a Yoga teacher at a local yoga studio, and has been encouraging me to join up for a long time. So I joined up last week.
I made it through the first 3 days doing classes of up to an hour and a half each day reasonably well, and then found the fourth day very challenging. That light-headed feeling from the gym was back again. So I decided to back off. Given that my Yoga teacher friend only recommends 3 or 4 classes a week for beginners anyway, starting with 4 consecutive daily classes is just that old push-and-crash mentality again.
I can see that rest days in between are really important. From now on, I’m committed to doing one Yoga class every second day for the next 30 days (when my trial membership expires), and if it leaves me feeling good, I’ll most likely continue after that. I should be looking like the guy in the picture in no time.
I’ve only had one debilitating headache since starting the Yoga classes, and I have noticed some strong emotions arising during classes or in the hours afterwards. I guess those holistic health people are right that emotions get stuck in our nervous system, and you’ve got to move in order to release them. That and the spiritual teachers who say there are multiple layers of the emotional onion.
It’s early days yet, but so far the results are promising. I’ve still got a few more sessions of EMDR to go to, which I plan to use to process any intense feelings that arise from the Yoga. I’m cautiously optimistic that this combination will finally put the headaches/migraines that I’ve suffered my whole life to rest. I’ll let you know how it goes.