There was a time a couple of years ago when I was fairly certain I had chronic fatigue syndrome, and I the idea really scared me. While I knew that excluding grains from my diet was making a big difference, I thought it would make sense to treat myself “holistically”, and make sure my overall health was as good as possible. So as well as monitoring my diet carefully, I started filtering my water, taking a high-strength multi-vitamin and some other supplements, and exercising regularly (I also went to an acupuncturist – more about that in another post). I really don’t know how much these extra elements contributed to my recovery, but I keep doing all of them, just in case!
Yoga is a favourite part of my exercise routine, although I’m not able to get to a regular class at the moment, so I make do with a good selection of DVD’s. I’m a big fan of vinyasa flow routines, and my favourite teachers are Zyrka Landwijt, Barbara Benagh and Seane Corne. I think it helps to have attended some regular yoga classes before relying on DVD’s, because you have an idea of the basics, and hopefully know your limits! But having been to some pretty uninspiring classes in my local area, I treat these DVD’s as a chance to be instructed by some of the world’s best teachers. Especially for someone who lives in a rural area, they are a pretty good option.
I also think yoga is the perfect “moving meditation”. I did a short course in Mindfulness Meditation last year, and really enjoyed it, but found that I simply couldn’t manage to set aside a separate 10 or 15 minutes every day to dedicate to mindfulness practice. Instead, I focussed on the things I had learned about incorporating mindfulness into daily life, and I now practice mindful driving, mindful walking and mindful tooth-brushing! But I especially like working it into my yoga, and it’s very easy to cultivate awareness of the movements of your body, your contact with the ground, and especially your breath, during the practice. I used to think that yoga helped me to sleep simply because of the physical act of stretching and releasing tension, but now I think there’s more to it: the simple act of being fully aware of the body gives the mind space, and allows it to uncoil as the body uncoils. Even small moments of presence have a lasting effect, and seem to allow for a deeper sleep. All of which seems to have contributed to my recovery.