For three years I was walking several hours a day along the beaches of the beautiful semi-tropical paradise of Belize, riding my bicycle 5 miles almost daily then cooling off by swimming in the warm ocean waters. I loved climbing the Mayan ruins of Belize, Guatemala and Mexico and exploring the wondrous caves in their jungle covered mountains. In other words, I was living a very active yet peaceful life. There came the time though that my idyllic lifestyle had to come to an end with me rejoining the workforce once again.
Then two and a half years ago disaster struck, I lost perception and started walking into things, like walls, fences, hedges and anything that couldn't move out of my way and I eventually lost my ability to walk and the coordination of my left hand. After an MRI the doctors thought, a stroke or brain cancer. The great cutting into my skull showed lesions or swelling of my brain but luckily no cancer or stroke. No, instead the doctors told me I had MS. After living with this "wonderful" news for about a year they then said, "no, it wasn't MS after all but that I had some overly aggressive antibodies that were creating havoc and lesions on the brain. In order to regulate and balance my autoimmune system I needed to start treatments consisting of going to the hospital every eight weeks for three fun filled days of IVIG. Now, although my balance is iffy and my movement wooden I am able to walk short distances unaided and to use my left hand again almost perfectly. A shopping cart at the grocery store is all I need for walking longer periods. Further MRI scans have shown the unheard of, "the lesions are shrinking". My body is healing itself now that those pesky antibodies are no longer attacking it relentlessly. Three different neurologists have told me they have never seen this before ~ I just love being different!!!
I'm telling this story as a way of explaining why this book. Today my neurologist gave it to me and strongly suggested that I start doing the exercises in it to improve balance, strength and flexibility of my muscles. If you've never done yoga you'll probably have the same vision that I had of some super flexible person sitting with their legs wrapped pretzel-like around their neck which can only induce near panic in someone like me with all the flexibility of a steel post. Yikes! The moment of truth arrived, I opened the book and with joy realized that the first picture showed a yoga pose that I'd have absolutely no trouble with. Okay, so it was called the corpse pose or Savasana and only entailed laying on your back with arms out to your side. Doesn't matter, I knew that I could do at least one of the exercises and hope abounded, I was encouraged. It's truly fantastic to have such low expectations only to be surprised with good news. As a special bonus the woman displaying the yoga techniques is a pleasant and fit looking woman over the age of 30 and not some hot looking 18 year old with a body that won't quit that you hate on sight. Come on girls, you know exactly what I mean.
The balance of the poses are some I anticipate no problem with, some that will require more effort and topping off with more difficult ones that I'll have to work up to. Each pose comes with at least one picture and detailed instructions, including how and when to breathe (a skill I thought I had mastered at a very young age but now find I've been doing it wrong for a number (I'm not telling how many) of years. Who would have guessed. Anyway, special thanks to Dr. V for giving this book to me. If I don't cripple myself, fall on my face or require a pry bar to get me out of some of these poses I'm sure I'll love it.
Originally published on www.chapterofdreams.com