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Posted: 13 November 2008 11:37 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Hi everyone,

I started Bikram yoga 3 weeks ago. I was so determined to try to go everyday or at least 5 or 6 times a week but I find that I just can’t. My first week I only managed 2 classes, 2nd week 4 classes & this week only 3 classes so far.

I find that once I get to 3 days in a row, I get so tired all day it’s almost demoralizing.

I make sure I drink 4 to 5L of water everyday, I do take supplements (multivits, nutritional oils) & I follow the Weight Watchers diet so nutrition is taken care of.

A bit of background: I just recovered this Apr from 3 years of chronic fatigue syndrome / fibromyalgia, was bedridden almost that entire time. Gained a lot of weight, went from 60kg+ to 90kg because of that & had to deal with depression because of the hopelessness of my situation then. Had to give up my degree halfway because of the illness.

Now that I’m well, I’m planning to return to study in late Feb & I want to be fit & ready for it, hence hot yoga. My body’s suffered terribly from the past 3 years & is totally out of shape.

I’ve read so much about the benefits of going very frequently especially during the first 3 months & I want so much for that but it just seems like I can’t & somedays, like today (just too tired to go, I know if I go I’ll be sick & dizzy in class again like yesterday evening) I just can’t help beating myself up about it (all the silly things like I’m just lazy, weak etc).

Most days I am able to tell myself that it’s still the adjustment period & I’m aware enough to know that most of my anxiety comes from the fear of not being able to cope once uni starts in late Feb but oh today it’s so bad. :(

Hope I didn’t bore anyone to death, I’m really just venting out my upsetness. Thanks for reading anyway.

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Namaste,
Silver

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Posted: 14 November 2008 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Hi Silver,

I read your post and just wanted to give you a hug! 

Although I’m sure Gabrielle will have more insightful thoughts to share with you, I just wanted to remind you of one key lesson yoga has taught me:  be gentle with yourself!  No berating, no beating, no judging.  It’s counter-productive, negative energy, when what you need is good, positive, nurturing energy.  That’s what will get you back to the yoga mat.  I know, I know, easier said than done.

From my experience, the days when I am most exhausted and grossly uninterested in going to yoga are the days I need it the most.  I always tell myself this:  “I’ll go.  Worst case scenario, I lay on my mat the entire class.  Oh well.  I’m still there, aren’t I?”  And usually, that worst-case scenario never actually happens.  I take it easy through the the first four postures, and without even knowing it, I completely forget how exhausted I was when I stepped into the room.

Also, I found that the weeks I only went two or three times were the weeks in which I was actually more tired.  I think that’s because the yoga and the heat are more jarring to your system, taxing it more and demanding more recovery time.  The more regularly you go, the more in sync and adjusted your body is.  Does that make sense?

Most of all, be gentle with yourself!

Namaste,

Hannah

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Posted: 14 November 2008 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Hi Silver

You have really had a tough time these last few years. You must feel so grateful to be on the other side of all that.

Still, it looks as though you are really frustrated that your body isn’t quite up to the challenge you were hoping it could cope with. Besides that I sense some real disappointment and some corresponding self-talk as you beat yourself up for not living up to your expectations.

In my first studio, one of my very first students was recovering/recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In his own words after his VERY FIRST CLASS: “I feel alive - for the first time in years”. This was such a moving experience for him (and me). Still there were days he would come to my house crying and oh so disappointed that he just couldn’t make it to class. He wanted to but just couldn’t do it.

There is a Catch 22 here. The more you go, the more quickly you evolve towards that ideal self that just notices what happens and responds without judgment. At the moment you can’t seem to get there enough to benefit (quickly enough) from the emotional cleansing that would be just what you are searching for! Right this moment I read Hannah’s post that came in while I write this paragraph. As usual Hannah’s posts are eloquent, compassionate and helpful. She is so right. Gentleness with yourself is what you so need (besides that big hug cheese ).

Release your expectations of yourself and move with the rhythm of your body. It is telling you to take it easy. Conditions that last a long time can take a while to get over. You are obviously taking care of yourself - your nutrition is great. So it has to be something else. This yoga is helping you reprogram your body and mind. It is teaching you to have self-empathy and compassion. This is in itself is a process that can take time.

February is quite some time away. Setting up a scenario of fear and anxiety is imagined. They are scenarios that take you way out of the present moment. Going to yoga even if you can’t participate to the level that everyone else does is still doing your yoga.

I am going to write you a PM because I have some personal ideas and resources I would like to share…

Namaste
Gabrielle smile

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Posted: 14 November 2008 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Silver,

My response may contradict what you’ve heard from others (not necessarily on this forum, but elsewhere), but I find taking a day off between practice days to be helpful. For instance, this week I practiced Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. I will probably take off today and get back first thing tomorrow morning. (Saturday.) I moved from 3 to 4 times a week since Oct. 8 and I find that “blocks” of practice days followed by “blocks” of rest days are not as effective for me as a more staggered approach. I feel more energetic and refreshed this way. Also, I am gradually working up to 5 days a week instead insisting on 5 right off the bat. This just makes sense for me. of Be kind to yourself, and don’t give up.

Namaste,

Kelly

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Posted: 14 November 2008 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Hi everyone,

@Hannah:

I always tell myself this:  “I’ll go.  Worst case scenario, I lay on my mat the entire class.  Oh well.  I’m still there, aren’t I?”

You know what, that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to tell myself too! Just go, just show up at the mat & take it as though it’s my first class every class & have no expectations. Forget the past, don’t worry about the future, just be in the present. Sigh. It’s worked for me a couple of times but sometimes the expectations & ego just break through. Odd things like “How can you possibly spend the class lying down? What a waste!” flit through like flies… bzzzz bzzzz!

I made myself go on Thursday like that & oh I was so sick & nauseous the whole time. I never ever grimaced or winced into the mirror before but that day my face was all scrunched up. Hope I didn’t freak my instructor out LOL. I did end up lying out a lot of the time but it was unpleasant & almost made me dread going back in case I felt even worse the next day!

But I’m definitely going today, this afternoon at 4pm. I find that if I don’t go for more than one day, I really end up feeling like crap. No matter how hard the class is, I always feel better for GOING than not. Probably exactly like you mentioned:

Also, I found that the weeks I only went two or three times were the weeks in which I was actually more tired.  I think that’s because the yoga and the heat are more jarring to your system, taxing it more and demanding more recovery time.  The more regularly you go, the more in sync and adjusted your body is. Does that make sense?

Yup, makes lots of sense! smile

@Gabrielle:

“I feel alive - for the first time in years”

Oh I know that feeling, I felt that in April that week I made full recovery. It is the most amazing sensation in the world. From shades of gray suddenly life is technicolor once again.

Gentleness with yourself is what you so need

That’s been an issue with me for most of my life. Learnt it from my mother unfortunately, not that I blame her the lovely woman, we’re all learning in life. All my life if I didn’t meet expectations, no matter what the reason, I’d be accused of being lazy. There’s never a reason to not do anything perfectly besides being lazy. So I was smacked with the rod a lot till now the rod exists in my head. Luckily I’m aware of it & most days I can soothe it but sometimes my will slips & it starts up again.

So it’s like, even if I’m bone, dead tired, so tired I feel like crying at the thought of going for class, there’s a part of me that goes “if you don’t go you’re being a lazy bum & a loser”. The trick is to be able to tell that what it’s saying is not true & sometimes the ghost of parental pressure can sound so convincing you know? Even as it is saying the most horrible things.

February is quite some time away. Setting up a scenario of fear and anxiety is imagined.

Yup, we call it futurizing here. Projecting a future that doesn’t exist yet & usually in the worst case scenario. Bad habit, bad habit smile

Going to yoga even if you can’t participate to the level that everyone else does is still doing your yoga.

I HAVE to keep remembering that! I think I’ll stick it on a PostIt on my computer!

@Kelly: Currently what I’m aiming for is as many days as I can handle (practicing hard to listen to my body) & then take no more than 1 day off in between blocks of practice. I agree with what you said. I did the “blocks” of practice days followed by “blocks” of rest days way in my first week & it just wasn’t as effective as just one rest day in between blocks. Doing too much too hard’s not great but taking too long a break’s almost feels worse sometimes lol!

=====

Thanks so much for all the advice & kind words everyone *big hug back to Hannah* smile I’m definitely not giving up, even though it is hard now. I can FEEL the good this yoga does to me & I ain’t giving that elixir up so quickly! I came into this yoga (just like my Weight Watchers) with the mindset that it is a WAY OF LIFE for me, not a quick fix or short term thing. So I’ll definitely be here! wink All clouds pass & this one will too, must have faith in that simple fact of life.

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Silver

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Posted: 14 November 2008 11:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Sigh… had another bad day. I thought resting Friday would be enough & I woke up this morning (Saturday) full of hope. I diligently drank my 4L+ of water the whole day to prepare for my class at 4pm, I usually make sure I get there by 3.30pm to warm up literally LOL in the studio.

Then as the hours wore on, I started to get more & more tired. Again. I fought it, cancelled an outing to the Salamanca Market just so I could conserve my energy for my class but it got worse & worse. By 2pm I was in a daze & had to sleep but at 3pm I could not get up. I felt like lead & just couldn’t get up without feeling sick.

Oh I cried & cried with hubby hugging me :( I think what prompted the outburst was fear. I’ve spent 3 years in a haze of fatigue & I never want to go back but feeling the way I did this afternoon, it filled me with terror that maybe, just the horrible maybe that I’m not really well yet. This whole experience has been trying in its own way, striving to not give up, not lose faith, having patience, trusting the process etc. I really want to rebuild my body & I guess I just need to keep that in mind, keep the goal in sight.

Talked to my hubby about it & I mentioned that I noticed that I never really did as well with evening & afternoon classes (somehow I’m 10 times more tired with the 5.30p & 7.30p classes) but I haven’t been able to attend the 9.30am classes for a while because he can’t send me there (at work) & in trying to walk the 30 minutes there myself over a couple of days, I developed a hobble due to calf & heel pain. Haven’t walked for too long. He’s going to try to send me there at 9am anyway & I’ll find a way back on my own. Probably bus but I’ll still have to walk a distance to the nearest bus stop with a bus that sends me home.

Going to try again tomorrow, this time aiming for the morning class (10am on Sundays). Wish me luck! Feel better after a tofu & spinach dinner with kimchi (haha weird mix I know, it was an eclectic meal)

On a side note, I’ve just ordered the YogaBody Flexibility Kit! I’ve already got the PDF from here but what I’m really looking forward to trying is the YogaBody Stretch supplement!

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Silver

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Posted: 15 November 2008 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Hi Silver

I have been pondering for a while about what might be a good approach. I have re-read your post a few times imagining being in your shoes. Rightly or wrongly I am guessing there is much thought going into the preparation of each class. Sometimes this preparation (mental and physical) seems to last a day or 2. So much hope is being pinned on these classes.

So this is what just came into my head. See if this works for you. Forget the fanfare and the huge build up to class. Work out which class times work for you and on which days. Pin them up if you have to, but then let it go. Go about your daily routine including your nutrition and hydration. Make the decision on whether you will go to class just a couple of hours beforehand. Take the pressure off.

You deserve a break. And yes I have complete faith you will get there!

On a local note: Hobart is pretty small and friendly. Barring living at some obscure address, I bet that you would more often than not, find someone at the class who would take you (at least part of the way) home. I know that in my studio I would ask around before class (make a little announcement) to see if anyone was willing to help out. Most of the time there was someone who volunteered. These yogi mates of yours whether you know them or not are usually right there with you! Just like the wonderful folk on this forum!

Namaste
Gabrielle smile

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Posted: 15 November 2008 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Hi Gabrielle,

Yes you’re right, I do have so much hope pinned on these classes. I’ve tried other exercise routines before, gym (ugh lol), walking or hiking (love it but pain), including even a personal trainer (didn’t turn out well, was pushed too hard). So far Bikram yoga seems to be the only thing I’ve been led to that I really do love for the activity’s own sake as well as I can get a really good workout without the risk of causing any more parts of my beaten up body to hurt or break down (when done sensibly of course).

I will try what you have suggested & try letting go of even this expectation. Mind is willing but body has not totally caught up with the mind yet. I guess I just have to accept that for a while more & not push, as it’s not helping.

So far what I’d been doing was to do as many days as I can before I pop. I think I’ll soften that approach & just do 1 day & take 1 day off for a week or two more & see how I feel at the end of it. Rather than push & see how far I can go before popping & then having a hard time recovering afterwards & then getting all demoralized over that.

Even while I was ill I always had a hard time actually accepting the true state of my illness. I didn’t want to be ill, I didn’t want to be that sick & weak, I wanted to be normal again. I guess that’s still here. I have to accept the real now state of my body before I can get to the healthy state I want to be at otherwise I’ll always be just operating from a state of denial!

Thanks so much for the advice & support, it’s really helping me through this (temporary) hard time! *hugz*

PS I’ll admit I’m a little shy about asking for help with lifts home but if really needs be I’ll definitely try to pluck up some courage to do so! In my experience as well, the few times I have asked for help (other occasions like short courses, events & stuff) there was always someone who was friendly & kind to volunteer so I know what you mean, it’s just my shyness LOL! :D

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Silver

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Posted: 16 November 2008 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Silver—

Felt as if I was reading my own story as I read your post. I have CFIDS and Fibromyalgia and have had since the mid 90’s. I started Bikram 2 years ago but have taken the last 6 months off because I pushed myself too far and my body rebelled. We fight the same fight. When the energy comes back, I feel like I’ve overcome and am back to health. Pacing is not something in my vocabulary and certainly not what I want in my lifestyle but what I need most of. I think what happened to me was that the pathways to detoxification started to open but the organ systems were not strong enough to handle the elimination of toxins. I felt like sludge just kept circulating and that created the dizziness, nausea, foggy thinking . . . I did 60 days straight in the beginning and then tried 3 to 4 days a week thereafter for 1 1/2 years. The heat was just became too much. When I stopped practicing for brief periods I could feel the benefits of the yoga. The problem became how to benefit without tearing down all the good I was creating. I believe my solution is to continue to do yoga at home on the off days for shorter amounts of time (Gabrielle’s DVD’s are excellent for the type of practice we need)and to attend a few studio classes a week. It is absolutely amazing to me how beneficial yoga is in my life. I still use the concepts daily when performing simple tasks and it is the only element that slows down my mind and gets me out of the spiral of overthinking. I’m working my way back to the studio and I think I have finally learned my lesson. My body is different, it is unique. It speaks to me and when I do not listen, it shouts. If I continue to not pay attention, my body wins by knocking me down. I’m going to compromise from this point forward and stop the yearning for what was and what could be if only . . . and enjoy the new found flexibility, strength and focus that I get from yoga even if it means doing 1 set of poses on certain days and partaking in more savasanahs. I’ll be sending good thoughts your way.

Diane

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Posted: 16 November 2008 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Hi Diane,

Thank you for posting your story!

Pacing is not something in my vocabulary and certainly not what I want in my lifestyle but what I need most of.

I know exactly what you mean.

It’s sometimes made harder because my family back in Singapore never really accepted CFS/fibro. In the beginning, they thought it was a made-up disease. Now that I’m technically alright, if I even mention being “more tired than usual” my mom will just totally freak out & go like, “Huh?! Why!? I thought you said you were okay already?! You better not fall sick again!! Don’t forget your degree starts in Feb, you had better be ready for it when it gets here, it’s not that far off!!” I can’t even find support for what I’m going through with them. I know that the truth is it will take time to:

1) Literally learn how to live a normal life again. I’ll bet you know what I mean. I still struggle with house chores on some weeks.
2) Rebuild my body from the internal damage wrought by the illness, & I know that can take time, the only thing is sometimes I think I forget the timetable is set by my BODY not my MIND.
3) Come to a new acceptance that yes, just like you said, maybe my body is now unique & different in its own new way, not the way it was before I was sick, not the way I would want it to be ideally, but it’s still my body temple & the best thing I can do is to accept reality for what it IS & not dwell on the past or expectations.

It also hurts that in my current state, I still cause so much trouble for my hubby. When I became well, I thought, “Hurray! Now I can be independent again, I don’t need to rely on him to send me everywhere or be everywhere with me. I can now take over cooking, washing & housework from him & he can finally just concentrate on his job.” Last week, I could barely cook & the dishes just piled in the sink until he came home to do them. I could have cried.

We talked yesterday & he said, “Look, you’re taking on a lot all at once, stop being so hard on yourself.” & my automatic reply was, “What am I doing? Just some yoga classes that I can’t even manage everyday & Weight Watchers (I’m choosing WW recipes from their database online to cook all our meals so that we can save money & it’s easier to stay within the POINTS system)! How can that be a lot?? It’s nothing to anyone else!”

Then the last line hit me, “It’s nothing to anyone else”. Can you just hear the self-judgment there? “I’ll not be happy UNTIL I’m like EVERYONE ELSE.”

CFS/fibro takes away more than just your physical health. It completely tears down & restructures your definition of self-acceptance. Sometimes I think, it’s that emotional & mental collapse & rebuilding that’s the hardest. Yet when I’m able to look at the bright side, hey, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger hey?

smile

Thanks for your tips on coping with classes. I ended up choosing NOT to go to class yesterday & just totally take my mind off yoga altogether for a day. It was much needed, a holiday from myself & my expectations LOL!! Went out for a drive up Mt. Wellington with hubby instead. Had a bad night, hay fever clogged nose kept waking me up, so woke up late at 7am. May or may not go to class today, still feel remnants of the self-inflicted negativity swirling around in my heart & chest, will decide in a while whether to work it off or let it be for today.

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Silver

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Posted: 13 August 2012 01:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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hi silverhuang,

I have just read your post and joined this forum just so that I can get in contact with you.

I have had M.E/CFS for five years. Like, Droma and most patients with this hideous condition I also have struggled with ‘pacing’, it’s not because we’re overmotivated nutters but because when you can’t do anything for a week, you then have a weeks worth of stuff to do when you do have some energy and that puts you straight back in bed.

Bikram yoga has changed my life. It changed it by showing me I was still ill. I have a sneaking suspicion that you did the lightning process? could this be true? It is a very powerful mental tool which you can use to pretend that you are no longer ill. the cruelest thing about it is that when you, inevitably, can no longer surpress your symptoms the pressure is on you for ‘not working hard enough’ at the process to stay well. I had done the lightning process about 4 months before I found Bikram and although I was UTTERLY convinced I had recovered, I still needed to work at staying on track constantly, continually fighting aginst the desire to lie down because I was so desperate to be well again.

Mental state, however, is very important with M.E/CFS, but not ignoring symptoms. Bikram yoga has helped me lead a pain free life, taught me to be calmer, more compassionate and accepting of myself, my illness and those around me. However, i am only able to visit the studio 2 or 3 times a week and do 2-4 home practices a week allowing myself to fully recover between each posture. It is possible to have a life and still have M.E. It is possible to recover from M.E. but not while you are fighting against yourself.

If you would ever like to chat here’s my email address ‘littleblondidesigns AT gmail.com’.

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Posted: 13 August 2012 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Hi everyone!  So glad to see all the posts on this topic. So much more research is needed in this area. I wish you well!

I stopped Bikram because trying to come off the Cymbalta medication, for pain and depression, even slowly, with a doctor’s help, interfered with my body’s natural ability to deal with the heat.  Unfortunately, I only realized this after practicing for 3.5 years, when I gradually started showing more and more signs of heat exhaustion on top of the C.F.I.D.S. and Fibromyalgia.  I haven’t practiced in 2 years and I am still not back at my baseline energy level.  At this point I can only exercise 20 to 30 mins a day on a very good week. Thank goodness it doesn’t sound like you’ve ever gone the Cymbalta route!  Hot Yoga teachers please make a note of any of your students who are taking antidepressants or other psychotropic medication.  The combination can be very dangerous. 

Best to all.

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