Over the years I have developed a love of yoga and feel the benefits straight after class. I'm one of those people who goes to yoga for the spiritual benefits, rather than for getting fit and toned, although those are great reasons too. I particularly love hot yoga, but please be advised, this is not for everyone, especially in the early/transition stages of yoga. I've really had to learn to listen to my body and not go crazy doing too many classes at once.
Yoga and having CFS has been a bit of a rough journey for me. At first, I was absolutely delighted to even make it through a class. Then, I would convince myself on the journey home that I would probably get ill in the morning, that I'd put my body under too much pressure. Low and behold the morning after, I was achey and berating myself for even trying (there's that mind-body communication again!) I'm currently living in Sydney where everyone gets up really early to go running and surfing, and people are generally super fit and healthy So, why couldn't I do more than one yoga class a month?! I'd gone from being happy with one class a month, to beating myself up for not doing 4 classes a week!
The key to yoga is taking to slowly. There's a bit jump between being bed-ridden and trying to do some 'easy' yoga stretches! It's a lot harder than it looks! Here are a few tips to help you along the way (again, I'm by no means an expert, so please listen to your body and do some further research):
* Investigate studios near your house, so you don't have to worry about travelling to and from class, or being exhausted after it and having a long commute.
* Research different yoga types- I absolutely love Ying Yoga and could quite happily do every class on the schedule! Yoga Nidra is also very relaxing and focusses a lot on breath work and meditation. Yoga Nidra is thought to aid sleep and actually translates as 'yogic sleep'.
* Make sure you phone or email a studio you are interested to ask if they feel they can cater to your needs or if there is a specific instructor in mind who could help you.
* Before attending your first class, make sure the instructor knows that you have been ill and are still recovering. Also, be sure to tell them about any muscle pain or difficulties you have. You're probably not the only one experiencing some form of physical pain or discomfort, so don't feel that you're alone in needing adjustments!
* If you are in class and feel the exercises are too difficult, there is no shame is recovering by going into Child's Pose. This has been one of the biggest challenges for me, as I always want to push myself and seem to compare myself to others quite a lot.
* Make sure you drink lots of water before and after class, and also prepare yourself a lovely nourishing meal afterwards. Many people recommend not eating 2 hours before class, but ask the studio to see what they recommend.
* If in any doubt, check with your doctor before attempting classes and if you don't feel strong enough, don't go!
Yoga is meant to be relaxing and pleasurable, so remember not to push yourself or put to much pressure on yourself. Classes are supposed to be fun, not torturous!