That’s a Bit of a Stretch

f42c5d10-dfbb-4330-92b4-3c3dc9e13ec2Wow, learning the intricacies of running a website has proven to be a serious time commitment! It’s extremely fun and all-consuming for me right now, but by the end of this week, my eyes were seriously strained and I still don’t understand half of these tech terms. So, I figured now was as good of a time as any to start getting back on track with my flare-free schedule, or at least attempt too. (Henry is always down to help try too.)

I love yoga. Over the past few years, I’ve been going to yoga 3 -5x a week. It helped me focus and clear my anxiety throughout law school and when I was living alone for the first time after moving to Chicago. After my most recent flare earlier this year, I went from practicing 3-5x per week to not at all. I lost nearly all of my flexibility and poses that once felt refreshing and opening, are now such a struggle.

I know yoga isn’t supposed to be competitive, but when I like something, I go all in. To say the least, it has definitely been humbling that I can barely touch my toes right now! I’m attempting to start fresh and ease back in as my energy slowly comes back. Those closest to me know that patient isn’t an adjective typically used to describe my personality (sorry) – but I am working on this too!

Namaste, Out My Way. Growing up, I was not necessarily athletic. I had the height for it, but did not have the competitive spirit or the grace when it came to sports (I almost always ended up making friends with the opposing team from when I was in intramural soccer as a tot through Lacrosse in high school). I ended up thriving more in solo sports when I was focused on increasing my skill set, not beating another team. Some of those activities include snowboarding, wakeboarding, rock climbing and of course, yoga. I guess I do best when I am the ultimate competition. (How is that for some self reflection?)

Hot Yoga: Isn’t It Just Heated Stretching? I started practicing in college a few times a week and when I went to law school, I made a serious habit out of it. My best friend and I started going as something different to do workout wise and quickly became regulars at the studio, attending these 90 minute heated classes, 3+ times a week. I am not sure how I made that work in my schedule, but this new practice saved me through school. It was the one time a day I would just be focused on breathing and moving (probably because it was 90+ degrees in there and that was all you could focus on at times). I stopped worrying about the 100 pages of law script I would be reading before 830a Contracts class or how I was going to pay for everything, whether I really even wanted to be an attorney, whether I will get a job, was I doing a enough to keep up with friends and my relationship, and of course, whether my health conditions will will flare again and ruin everything I have built so far.

Talk about a confidence boost. It was the first time I have ever felt natural at something, which just made me want to do it more. This is also the first time in a very long time I can remember feeling spiritual. This is something after being diagnosed I struggled with and finally began to see that it was okay I didn’t fit in the mold we have cut out for people as long as I had my own moral compass. Another quality of yoga that draws me to it is that you should essentially mind your own business when you are in there and if you are talking about other people in the class and being a mean girl, well that is a big no-no. Not zen. Focus on your movements. Other workout classes like interval training and boxing have intimidated me because girls can be cliquey and admittedly, have made me feel self-conscious in past experiences because of my lack of athletic ability.

I have also always felt that intense workouts (like training for a race or doing interval classes) were close to impossible directly following a flare – it is just so hard on my body. I was recently going through my medical records and found an ER old report. Apparently my reasoning to the doctor for not coming in sooner was that I thought I was out of shape so I was working out a ton and figured I was getting more tired from that. A little misinformed, but it reminded me how easy it is to misunderstand what your body is trying to tell you. I know that I genuinely felt that too, like if I just got stronger and more fit my Crohn’s would just disappear or something!

The Struggle is Real. While I tried to keep up with classes as I began to not feel well again, continuing to work full time and having a new dog became too much and sleep was outweighing everything else. It is hard that I am barely flowing at all anymore, but getting back on the mat this weekend and just stretching was a nice change. I really do think it helps with my balance too – I am a much more graceful person when I am consistently going…. Anyone else notice that or it is just me?!

Hey, You! And as I sat and stretched, I wonder what you other autoimmune illness afflicted individuals do for exercise? Do you find that your drive and motivation is lost when you are sick, or do you use this as added motivation to encourage you? Do you practice yoga or meditation as well? I would love to hear your thoughts!



2 thoughts on “That’s a Bit of a Stretch

  1. Love this post! And you! For me, it’s been interesting to try and find the balance of fitting workouts into my life and keeping everything else running smoothly when my schedule is so jam packed. Having finally been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that directly affects my energy levels, I’m trying to be kind to myself when I simply feel too damn tired to workout. For years, I thought I was just being lazy when I felt that way but now that I know there’s a physiological reason for my exhaustion (uhhh… besides the new baby), it’s like a whole new puzzle and I’m just taking my time working it all out– no pun intended. Xo

    1. Yes! People don’t realize how much a GI condition and/or thyroid affects your energy levels. I constantly get ‘is that the kind that makes you gain or lose weight?’ when i talk about my hypothyroidism. It’s so much more than that! Totally hear ya on the being kind to yourself idea, it is hard but we have to do or we will never fully recover. That type A personality doesn’t always take that well 😉

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