Monday, June 13, 2011

Yoga and Lyme Disease

Since the onset of symptoms the hardest thing to do has been to get out of bed in the morning. Not because I'm sad or worried or unmotivated, but because no matter how slowly I start moving it seems I always feel dizzy, have a skull splitting headache, and the bite site (on my left leg) throbs so badly I have to limp until the blood starts to flow normally.

This morning I decided that enough was enough. I was going to do something to hopefully stop these symptoms. The first thing I did was to lay in bed for 5 minutes just taking physical inventory. Nothing was hurting more than usual, I didn't feel particularly disoriented, just tired and achy (oh, the achy joints!)

I took a few sips of water (which is always on my bedside table at night, right now.) Breathed deeply for a few slow breaths (like, maybe 5 or 10.)Modified Mountain Pose. I'm just activating the muscles in my arms and legs. Feet are flexed. Palms face the ceiling. Hold while taking 2-4 comfortable and deep breaths

Bridge Pose. Legs and arms are active. Butt is not clenched. Knees are hip distance apart (not touching and not splayed to the side.) Hold while taking 1-3 comfortable and deep breaths.

Knees-to Chest Pose. Gently hug knees towards the chest. Feet are flexed and active. Hold while taking 1-3 gentle deep breaths.

Reclining Big Toe Pose. Hands are gently pulling on the leg while the leg is gently pushing back into the hands. "Resting" leg is active, foot is flexed. Repeat on other side. Hold while taking 2-4 gentle deep breaths.

Shoulders on the Back (not officially a pose). Arms are stretched at shoulder height and muscles are active. Shoulders hug onto the back as arms slide deeper into the shoulder sockets. Repeat 3-5 times holding the pose while taking 1-2 deep comfortable breaths.

Modified Eagle Pose. Arms cross right over left (and then repeat placing left over right) hands are active, palms face away from one another. Legs and feet are active. Hold on each side while taking 1-3 deep comfortable breaths. Seated Staff Pose. Spine is straight, shoulders hug onto the back. Leg muscles are active, knees are not hyper extended, feet are flexed and active. Hold while taking 5-10 gentle deep breaths.

Easy Seated Pose. Normally a yoga practice starts with this pose, but when your joints ache and you are fatigued and your brain feels like it might burst from your skull this pose is challenging enough to be the final pose of the practice. I'm sitting in a crisscross applesauce like position. One foot is placed in front of the other so the ankles aren't stacked and feet are active. My sit bones are grounded into the.... mattress. (Normally, I would say Earth.) My spine is straight and perpendicular to the ground (allowing for a slight curve in the lumbar or lower back). Head is in line with the spine. Hold while gently taking 10 deep breaths.

Finally I put my feet on the floor for the first time this morning. I didn't feel the rush of blood to my bite site and the familiar throb. Pleasantly absent! I waited 30 seconds before standing. Still no debilitating headache. I stood, walked to the bathroom and brushed my teeth, feeling almost normal.

This means the antibiotics are working and perhaps the yoga is working as well.

Never underestimate the power of a yoga practice. No matter how strange looking and modified it is!


Gail said...

This sounds like a great routine for anyone not feeling quite up to par--or maybe in reverse order, a routine for just before bed?? I'm going to give it a try!

Emily said...

If you reverse the order to do it before bed be sure to do Bridge pose BEFORE Knees to Chest.

cyndeebee said...

Awesome! This should be in Yoga Journal, Emily!

Kate said...

I'm so glad it worked and you felt better!

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

Oh, I love yoga...I miss it. I've quit since I had the baby. I need to get back into it.

I hope you feel better!!

Kristin said...

Keep getting better!

Brenna said...

glad to hear you're feeling better! we just pulled a deer tick off A the other day...lyme disease is scary to think about!

In The Lyme Fight said...

This is awesome! This is exactly what I would love to do for my Lyme friends. I hope to make some videos when I start feeling better. Thank you for sharing Emily!