Written in February 2023
Since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia 6 or so years ago physical activity has become part of my life in a way that I never thought it could be. Certainly if you'd asked my PE teachers if I was the sort of person who would voluntarily do exercise they'd have laughed at you. Being physically active is one of the big weapons I have against the pain, fatigue and stamina issues that are part of living with a long term health condition.
It's taken years of slowly building on my progress to get to a place now where I can do voluntary conservation work for 2.5 hours a week without being completely wiped out for days afterwards. I go for walks, up to three miles at a time, and do this three or four times a week for fitness (mental and physical) but also to forage, which is also very grounding as it's one of my interests. I do pilates once a week and have been following the same stretching routine on YouTube for 2 or 3 years.
Given that I had to abandon my butchery career because I couldn't physically cope with the demands of the job (even part time) I'm pretty happy with where I'm at. I can do housework and not fall apart afterwards; basically I can get shit done and not end up chasing myself to stay on top of life.
In late December I decided to make a change*. I'd been seeing loads of Facebook ads for various yoga programme; I must thank the algorithm for putting yoga on my radar. I had a quick search through YouTube and found a video from Yoga With Adriene (which it turns out, is a really popular channel). I did the same full body flow video for three or four days and enjoyed the change as well as the energy lift I got from it.
A Facebook friend then posted that she was planning to do the 30 day yoga journey from Adriene's channel, and was looking for accountability buddies. I'd given the idea a passing thought myself, so I said to count me in, and so we got started. The accountability was good; knowing someone else is on the same journey can help keep you on track, and it was also really nice to hear someone else struggled with some of it. Happily, I also found it beneficial for my physical and mental health.
It didn't take very long for me to actively look forward to the daily practice. Within those 30 days I had some days where I had sore muscles from the core work, some where I had bounds of energy afterwards, some where I could have happily gone to sleep straight after, (and I CAN'T sleep during the day) and even one day where I had a completely pain free 4 hours. I mean literally, nothing hurt AT ALL and it's been 5 years since that last happened.
I bookmarked some sessions and continued with those while my FB friend and I worked out whether to do another 30 day journey – which we have and I'm 16 days in to the next journey and itching to take a break from writing this so I can get on with today's session! I'm glad to say that daily yoga is a full-on habit now, it's something I factor into my day and actively make time for. In part 2 I'll go into more depth about what daily yoga has helped with, and why.
*December was very challenging and I struggled a lot mentally. My usual strategies weren't working as well as they should (if at all), and that's usually my cue to change something.
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