19 Sep Yoga and chronic fatigue, by Ellie
“Trust in the process of life”
My experience with chronic fatigue and yoga
“Trust in the process of life” is a phrase Mum passed on to me years ago and one that sort of stuck with me. Over the past 18 months it has become fundamental to my being.
In December 2011 I became sick with a ‘mystery virus’. A little queasy, gastric annoyances, skin rash, exhaustion. I took a few days off work. All the tests came back fine – “just rest and recuperate” said the Doctor. Time passed and nothing changed, two weeks, Christmas, New Years, back to work time, but still I was experiencing intense fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, chronic pain and yucky body sensations. In the end I was diagnosed with Post Viral Fatigue, which then became Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
My frustration and grief, GRIEF! for my old life was unparalleled to anything else I’d experienced in my 29 years. I’d been so fit and active- running 3-4 times a week, yoga, swimming; enjoying a new relationship, good close friends, full time work. And then it all stopped because I was incapacitated, I was powerless. I felt like a prisoner in my own body, my bed, my house and worst of all, my mind.
It was about 7 months into my illness that I discovered the teachings of Restorative Yoga and Gentle Yoga, and it has been a catalyst for my improved wellbeing.
The yoga process gives me freedom in my body – in movement and ease. It gives me a sense of peace of mind through concentration and meditation on poses.
But, I also find that continued practice has helped me think about my condition differently, without anger and frustration. It has promoted a sense of love and care of my body and mind. I guess it’s helped me mentally and emotionally to nurture myself, rather than fight, resist or grieve for what I have been going through. It’s very much a mental as well as physical process for me.
This process hasn’t been easy. There was no moment of sudden enlightenment, but with time and reflection I see how my everyday life has come to embody values akin to yogic philosophies. I am more at peace with my illness; accepting and appreciating my ‘self’. I am no longer looking at the moving horizon in front of me with impatience and longing. I am more honest with myself. This is me, and this is my life. My intention is to appreciate my body, what it gives me, and nurture it as best as I can.
I have no grand plans for when I am fully recovered. But I do hope that I will bring this sense of wholeness and inner patience with me in whatever I do. I hope to embrace the sense of entitlement to walk to my own rhythm in life. I have every hint of faith that I will, and that makes me happy with my life, now.