Thursday, 20 November 2014

Start Rocking!

I can't believe what I've started doing every day. I'm rocking- I might start rolling soon too!

Let me explain further. As you know if you've read more of my blog, I have had a difficult year as far as my core and abdominal muscles are concerned. Having started to really recover from the injuries sustained in the seizure last November I had another seizure at the end of August and then another in September. Worse still I had a sickness bug a few weeks ago and was retching for about 7 hours on a Sunday evening (I actually missed Downton Abbey because of it!). I remember finally trying to get to sleep and feeling my stomach pulsating. So to say the least I've been coping with pain and flexibility and mobility restrictions.

Now to the rocking. Thanks to a friend on a yoga forum I found The Liberated Body Podcast. The presenter, Brooke Thomas, talks to "game changers" every week about holistic ways to own your body and help your journey through the modern world, whether or not you have chronic illness.
The first episode talked about crawling. The change in position, from standing and walking, to being on all fours and crawling, counteracts modern life which does very little walking upright and very little sitting upright. By using screens, even reading a book, knitting or falling asleep in front of the television, our neck is compromised and  bent forward, putting pressure on the nervous and immune systems. So crawling, with the head held high is an opposite pose. Not only does it improve neck strength is helps create a stronger core and better balance. 

By listening to the whole podcast I discovered that babies quite obviously don't go simply from lying on their fronts or backs to crawling; a lot of preparation goes into movement. Crawling needs balance and strength. I found this fascinating as I feel the need to start from scratch myself. Having not walked very much for the last five years without finding pain or set-backs, I want to know the real basics of movement. From practising yoga for almost three years I understand the principles of breath and movement so the term "Rocking" was what appealed to me. Very simply it is being on all fours, like a baby preparing to crawl, then sitting back into child's pose with the arms stretched out in front. The movement rocks backwards and forwards, from table pose, into child's, all the time with the head upright, creating a comfortable curve in the upper part of the spine, and the eyes focused on a point in the foreground. This rocking motion provides the body with a strong and balanced core over time. A baby will be observed doing this for about a month before tentatively moving an arm and leg forwards to crawl into another position on the floor. Follow this link for a great example of the movement

So I'm rocking. Rolling on the floor like a baby will come in time. Rolling side to side and from the front of the body to the back is suggested to give a flexible spine with strong supporting muscles. As my core is still recovering and restricting my movement I will not expect myself to crawl around the house or roll every day. The two men who founded this concept were personal trainers when they came up with this idea. I am not in that league! As time goes by and I notice my body changing I will do more, less or find yoga poses to complement this idea.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Absolutely Shattered

So my body is going through a shattered exhaustiveness at the moment. I've had it for a couple of weeks I think. I have put on a bit of a front with other people, I even visited family and let the busyness continue around me. But by saying it like it is I've had a better response. A simple example was on our way to our accommodation when visiting our family. A road was closed, which would have dictated a confusing long detour, I decided to knock on a friend's door and ask to stay the night. It was a simple request and when we explained that we didn't know the roads, I was too shattered to navigate and we don't have a Sat Nav, there was no question of them turning us away. We were even offered their bed as they could see how much I needed a good night's rest after a long journey. Feeling guilt and worrying about other people judging me slips from my mind very quickly now and makes my life a lot easier! By showing them love and gratitude there was no animosity- and we had fun that morning over breakfast, giving the mum a chance to cook herself breakfast while we took care of the children.
My body is healing and I realise sometimes it just sits and watches from the inside as the world continues to turn. I feel so much more able to let that happen when I am in control of my environment. That's not always easy, but by giving in to other's whims and living by society's rules I get myself deeper into tiredness debt, so I try to stay in charge and create what I need within other's whims and society's rules. Life can work quite well like that!
My house will be invaded by builders for the next three weeks and it is optimally important that I don't let it stress me or overly influence my routine away from the norm. So simple food, regular rests, leaving the house occasionally with a friend or my husband to see a different view will all be good rules to live by as these weeks go by. I also accept that as it continues, changes and decisions may need to be made and I will be the one who needs a clear head to answer those queries. As it ends (and my bank account is run particularly dry!) I must be prepared to accept relief along with a period of recovery.
If this sounds all too perfect and I appear like a worshipable guru, I offer you that chance to worship!..but I make so many mistakes and only looking back do I see how well I've done to notice those mistakes so soon. By making small changes within my limits and seeing how I could change my approach, then planning ahead, as for the next few weeks, I think I'm doing alright.

(It's taken me so long to write this, sat here at the kitchen table, body collapsing every few minutes, head hanging as I search my brain for words- but I had to note this down as a step in my recovery, a step towards coping better with those confusions I've been handed)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Acceptance Breeds Happiness

In my last post I reported my seizure from November and here in February I report again. For the first time since then I am noticing days without any stomach muscles screaming and I am starting to manage some household chores without subsequent regrets. I've put the washing in the machine; I've thrown food into pots and watched it cook while stirring; I'm sitting at a table typing!!!

What this experience has brought out of me is a realisation that I now have a great habit of acceptance. This has taken a couple of years to build up, with help from various yoga teachers and patience from my husband too! I always thought I accepted my ME and Epilepsy, I got on with life. But I was always thinking, "when this happens in my life and when this happens in my life, I will be truly happy". Yoga has taught me to come back to the present moment, to notice any misdemeanours in my character, with a desire to change them, but with non-judgement. For two years I have been saying to friends who ask how I am, "I am happy". That came from seeing the wonderful things in my life that I wouldn't change for the world. I have a caring, loving husband; friends who are there to help me when I call; family at the end of a telephone line; a garden to sit in; food in the cupboard; clothes on my back...the list could go on and on. I know a lot of people have gratitude diaries which encourage them to write down five things everyday for which they are grateful. As simple as seeing a snowdrop, or walking in the rain; love walking in the rain and crave it whenever there is a rain shower/storm/downpour (which has been quite frequent recently in the UK!) I don't write my gratefuls down but have got into the habit of noticing them as the day goes by and if I'm unhappy then I make myself sit and claw my way through the negativity in my brain to find a few things from the last few hours.

I have noticed that when I am grumpy and unhappy it is usually because I am tired, so laugh at my grumpiness as soon as I notice it (or ten minutes afterwards- I'm not that much of a saint yet!), try to reconcile myself to the situation and realise that because I'm tired I've made a negative statement in my head about everything that has happened in the last thirty minutes (or whole day!) and I am just making everything worse. 

The one other big thing is that yoga has taught me to realise my happiness doesn't have to be connected to the mind or action, I can be happy within before I take action and before I think through my situation. I can lie on my bed and recognise, without words, the true essence of my being, which is always there no matter how much pain or difficulty my life encounters. I find my attention moving away from my head and dissolving into my heart space, indescribable really as it is a feeling of comfort and existence.

So to conclude, my acceptance of the seizure I had last year created a learning curve which found me in a place truly accepting my situation, finding an action which I could take, which could only be rest and NOT over-doing it and finding the happiness in everyday life. So I'm happy!