When subjected to bedrest, the body loses muscle mass at around 12% a week. Of course, it’s sometimes necessary to rest in bed when you’re unwell, and it’s what I needed during the most acute phase of my labyrinthitis, but that knowledge was a motivator to move. Not only that, but movement is vital to maintain healthy neural pathways to help my FND, and it is also as a key component of my pain management. Added to that, I knew that for my vestibular system (balance) to recover, it needed to be challenged. In other words, I had to move!
I have a range of movement practices I incorporate in my day, suitable for times ranging from when I have minimal automatic movement to those when my movement is at it’s strongest and most fluid. Even if my body is in a state of paralysis, it is still moving with the breath. That’s always my starting point, followed by mindful movement; a moving meditation that helps me regain body awareness. I then tap into my neurophysio techniques, working on my sit to stand as the basis for functional movement, and weight shifting side to side to generate some rhythm and momentum. My yoga practice ripples throughout it all. During the past few weeks I have practised yoga in bed, in my wheelchair, and I am this week starting to get back down on my mat. I am taking it incredibly gently, constantly tuning into my body and adapting what I do to meet my needs. To get some movement going feels liberating. My body feels alive as I sense energy coursing through my cells. I feel more present and I’m gradually regaining strength.
‘Adaptive Yoga Poses’ – In this toolbox you can find a month’s worth of adaptive yoga poses I completed in 2016 for the Mind Body Solution’s ‘Kiss My Asana’ Yogathon.
‘FND Movement Toolbox’ – A chart sharing some of the neurophysiotherapy techniques I use.
You can find an introduction on mindful movement by Breathworks, followed by a series of guided movements on Soundcloud.
A Week of Self-Care – Day 1 – The Call to Self-Soothe
A Week of Self-Care – Day 2 – Meditation
A Week of Self-Care – Day 3 – Nourishment
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu – May all beings be happy and free.
The chanting filled the space. Twenty-five people had entered the studio alone or in small groups only thirty minutes earlier, yet now we had become one, living the true meaning of yoga, ‘union’.
It was a chilly Sunday evening and the first satsang, or gathering, of our Thaxted Yoga community. The studio space had been transformed, full of cosy corners to relax. There was a plentiful supply of refreshments; hot chai, vegan hot dogs and tacos, raw chocolate brownies and energy balls, popcorn, even cupcakes iced with the Thaxted Yoga logo, yoga poses and tiny rolled up mats. People curled up in blankets, resting on bolsters and cushions, bathed in the soft glow of candles and dimmed lights.Read More
“There’s going to be some controlled chaos,” announced Matthew as the class began. There was, but the energy in the room noticeably shifted as he spoke thoughtful words of wisdom and guided us through our practice. “My story is your story,” he said, as he explained how the inner sensations, or prana, he’d discovered whilst practising yoga as a paraplegic, were relevant to us all. People often focus on the outer shapes of yoga, but what happens on the inside? That’s what we were about to discover. Read More
“Hey,” said Matthew, wheeling past me as I arrived at Triyoga. I felt star struck. I’d been re-reading his book, ‘Waking’, the night before; an intimate glimpse into a life I found so inspiring. Now I was sitting chatting with Matthew, about to participate in his all humanities yoga class.
The description had made me tingle; ‘this class explores universal themes within asanas for all levels of ability and disability – from someone paralysed and confined to a wheelchair to the most advanced asana practitioner. Asanas will be taught in a manner that reaches everyone simultaneously. Participants will perform their own poses, help each other, and learn from each other. When ability and disability authentically show up and share universal vulnerability, the releasing humanity is transformative and life changing.’ I had eagerly booked my place for Matthew’s class in London. Read More
I couldn’t believe my luck when I drove past and saw the fresh green and blue sign, the windows draped in soft white voile with tiny mirrors catching the sunlight. It was early 2015 and whilst I was preparing to move into my new home nearby, Thaxted Yoga opened. It didn’t take long for me to join a class. Each time I stepped into the little studio, I felt enveloped in a calm, gentle energy, topped up with the warmth of a big Casey hug. I discovered a different part of myself in each class I took, the ‘Be Mindful’ artwork on the mantelpiece reminding me of my intention. It quickly became my happy place. Read More
Tuesday 21 June was the second International Day of Yoga. When the Indian Prime Minister requested the day, he addressed the UN saying, “Yoga is an invaluable gift…It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being…” The day has been supported by 175 nations and is celebrated with free yoga classes across the globe. Read More
I’ve had a stuffy cold/sinusitis for the last couple of weeks. There’s something about summer colds that makes them all the more miserable. Curling up in a blanket with a steaming cup of tea feels more natural in the winter. In the summer, you feel you should be frolicking outside without a care in the world.
I was determined to manage this illness without taking any extra medication. I have enough chemicals in my body in the form of my regular meds and I didn’t want to add in any more if I could possibly help it. In any case, I’ve never heard anyone rave about decongestants – you can’t even take them for long otherwise they cause the exact problem you’re trying to treat! So I used some of my favourite helpers and did a bit of research to add in some new. Of course, being given beautiful flowers from my parents’ garden perked me up too.
It’s the final week of my Yogathon. It’s been such a wonderful month. I’ve deepened my practice whilst raising awareness and funds for a very special organisation, Mind Body Solutions. Hopefully, I’ve inspired a few yogis along the way too. The main thing I’ve taken away for myself is a fantastic reminder of how empowering flexibility can be. I don’t mean the flexibility of being able to bend into an advanced asana, though of course that can feel fantastic, but the flexibility of approach. Keeping an open mind, exploring what’s possible and being creative in making that happen is the key to so many doors. Read More
I was delighted to have my Yogathon practice featured in Mind Body Solutions’ newsletter this week. You can read their inspiring news and updates here.Read More
I’m halfway through my Yogathon; raising awareness and funding for Mind Body Solutions, an organisation that helps people experiencing loss, trauma and disability, through yoga. Week two has been interesting and varied. My daily adaptive poses are gradually becoming more inventive and challenging, but I’m still reminded that sometimes the simplest of poses can have the most powerful effect on my mind and body. Read More