Hey Lupies and Spoonies.  I hope everyone is having a great day.  As some of you know, for the past 8 years, I have been fighting a battle against lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and Stiff Man Syndrome among a bunch of other stuff I can’t pronounce.  😉  But unfortunately, being chronically sick or being in chronic pain now seems to go hand in hand with depression.  And why wouldn’t it.  Other people will never understand the day-to-day battle for our life we go through every day.  We are the strong, the warriors, the fighters.  We don’t go around everyday making believe we’re sick to gain sympathy from others.  No.  For most of us, our illnesses and pain are invisible and so we do the opposite, we make believe we’re ok so as not to deal with the barrage of questions that are sure to come.   “Oh wow, you have some color in your cheeks.  You don’t look sick today.  Are you doing better?  I don’t know how every body else deals with this, but I can’t take it anymore.  Some people cannot see why we did questions like these so offensive.  But I digress.  I feel a rant coming on and I don’t want to go off in a different direction again.

So, about 3 or 4 weeks ago, I made an online friend that very observantly and very keenly observed that I was dealing with anxiety and depression.  She recommended a few changes in my diet and also recommended that I start doing yoga.  Years ago, my rheumatologist, who is not an MD but a DO also recommended that I get off of the narcotics and start doing yoga.  For those that don’t know, a DO is also a medical doctor who I believe studies medicine for another year in order to learn how to treat their patients not only medically but from a holistic approach as well.  He has always wanted me to come off of my pain meds and pursue yoga.  However, for me, any form of physical activity has always done more harm than good as I discovered when I first tried physical therapy.  Because of my stiff man syndrome, even walking a few feet from my bedroom to my bathroom leaves me in an excruciating amount of pain.  And God forbid  I need to go downstairs.  Not only do I have to deal with the pain but with the asthma attack that is sure to follow as well.  And again, because I am so stiff, not too long ago, I even fell down the stairs.  Anyway, because my internet friend was so nice to me and was so sincerely concerned about my well-being, I promised her that I would try.  Of course, right now I’m in the hospital but as soon as I get home, I will start trying to keep that promise.  In the meantime, I decided to do some research on the topic to see how other people feel about it and the following is the result of that research. Please enjoy.

Life Balance and Yoga

After a surge of interest during the consciousness-conscious ’60s, yoga began to fall out of favor. Exercisers apparently lost patience with the activity, which offers slow but steady results, and turned to the fast pace and quick shape-up of aerobics. Now yoga is back-less mystical than in the past, less reminiscent of gurus in pretzel positions, and more attractive than ever to people who are interested in working out rather than working toward some spiritual goal.

Once you step out of the metaphysical atmosphere, yoga is a great stretch and flexibility program. Yoga is increasingly being used by those who are having a trouble in balancing their work and personal life. A stressful working environment and a hectic schedule has a telling impact on the personal lives of the modern-day executives and so they are turning to yoga to bring about a peace of their mind and to adopt a perfect work-life balance.

On the flip side, many disgruntled runners, weight trainers and aerobic dancers complain that instead of reducing the stress in their lives, their exercise regimes add more.

People rush to work out every day at lunch, force themselves to keep up and then rush back to work. Surely, it does something good for them, but it is just another pressure. Yoga is less competitive, less stressful, and above all gives a wonderful feeling of being.

Indeed, the healing aspect of yoga is a key to its renewed popularity. The strained knees, aching backs and neck pains generated by the push for fitness and the stress of making it in a competitive world have inspired a packaged set of a book and audio cassettes. Some orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors and neurologists are now referring patients to specific yogis during treatment.

Growing interest in the mind-body connection is fueling a major comeback of the ancient practice, boosted by research suggesting it can reduce stress and blood pressure, improve work performance, even slow effects of aging.

Several techniques are now being taught in mainstream hospitals and businesses; books about them are brisk sellers and discussion groups have sprung up on the Internet.

Details differ, but a common theme is relaxing the body while keeping the mind alert and focused – on an object, sound, breath or body movement. If the mind wanders – and it always does – you gently bring it back and start again.  Mind-body approaches often are more effective, and cost-effective, than drugs or surgery.  And it has been shown that yoga has helped people so much that some insomniacs become regular sleepers and doctor visits for pain are reduced.

I hope that everyone has enjoyed today’s post as it is the kind of writing I love to do; informative yet personal so that people can relate. And once I’m back home, I hope to provide you with a lot more posts such as this one.  As always, please leave a comment and let me know if you’ve had any experience with yoga, chronic illness, and mental health.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Your Lupie Butterfly,

Ria Robi

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