I know many non-MS people whose lives have been utterly changed by yoga.
I know many MS people whose lives have been utterly changed by yoga. Yoga is not a cure, but it is clearly an amazing source of support, and the leading proponent of the use of yoga within MS (Eric Small) is right here in southern California. I've met him, my doctor studies from him.
My own experience with yoga has always been one of three immediate, and sometimes vehement, reactions:
- Enthusiastic and positive: Where has this been all my life? More to the point, why have I not spent my life doing it? When can I do this again?
- Completely unmoved: I see no reason why people find this so life-changing.
- Angry: Get this away from me. Now.
I did some ansara (another style) a few months back. It made me furious. Immediately. Even when I was in what they called "rest" positions.
I did Iyengar a few months back, and some more at the teacher-traning last weekend. It was simply transcendent. That, I have to do more of.
Maybe it's just my hypersensitivity to everything (which is exacerbated by the MS), but what works for me really works, and what doesn't work doesn't work at all, and I know immediately which way it's going to go. It has nothing to do with where it fits on easy/difficult, or pleasant/unpleasant scales. It's more about "this works with me" versus "this misses the mark, when it attempts to meet me or I attempt to meet it," or worse, "this works against me."
The way I perceive things, there's a big difference between "This is right for me, even though I suck at it at the moment, but it's the right thing to keep working at it and who cares about the 'suck,' I certainly don't" and "This is wrong. I can't deal with this. Get it away from me." Has nothing to do with the inherent worth or rectitude of the pursuit, or whether "everybody goes through this" or things like that.
But really... MS being what it is, life is hard enough doing things at which I suck but that I enjoy. I don't have the energy to do things that I love doing; why should I spend what little energy that I have doing things that piss me off? When I can spend that same energy doing something that is just as good for me, just as hard for me, but that I enjoy?
I'm going to Iyengar this Saturday. With luck, it'll be as wonderful as I hope that it will. The experience of Iyengar yoga has always been for me the experience of yoga that explains why people think so highly of the discipline.
And my doctor's orders for me, right now, is to enjoy myself.
And even doing a little of that (enjoying myself) would be a very, very nice--and long overdue--change.