Two years ago I stopped doing fitness completely. People always told me I should keep lifting weights so that I could keep by body strong. But it didn't. After ten years of fitness, my motivation was gone. I couldn't set new goals, because my body wouldn't let me. To much pressure on the joints caused a lot of inflammations and stiffness. I already knew doctors were not happy about me doing yoga, but after some research I found that there are a lot of different types of yoga. After trying a few of them, I knew Ashtanga yoga would help get some strength back and it would also keep me motivated.
So, here I am, almost two years later. By now I think I can tell you some of my experiences ;) Ashtanga Yoga did do the following things for me:
- Less stiffness in the morning. I still need time to get out of bed, put my joints back at place, but my joints feel more relaxed and less tired.
- I am more flexible! "But wait, that can't be right. Why do you want to be more flexible?" Let me tell you that EDS patients can also be too stiff. This tightness in the joints causes inflammations and tired muscles. Because of Ashtanga yoga I learned, in order to be in balance, you have to search for a balance between strength and flexibility. Sure, some yoga types work more on flexibility, I have learned that the hard way ;) But with Ashtanga, the poses (or asana's) come in a flow. You stay in every asana for five breaths, and then you flow into another asana. It's just enough to make the balance between strength and flexibility.
- I have less subluxations and dislocations. Yeah!
- My body makes cracking noises all the time, but not as much as before.
- My core is stronger. That means less pressure on my spine and a more stable ribcage. (Although my ribs still tend to move throughout the day, an awful feeling).
- I learn to listen to my body more carefully. I back off a pose if my joints hurt, but I will push through if it's just a myalgia (normal muscle ache). I also learned to plan my activities better. After a few busy days, I have to take some rest, instead of ignoring the pain.
- I am more self-assured. I try new things on and off the yogamat, without the fear of failing.
- My body looks great: more toned and slim!
For EDS patients who also want to try yoga, please be careful. I do have EDS, but a have an athletic build. I've always had pretty strong muscles for an EDS patient, so Ashtanga yoga wasn't that scary for me to try. If you have hypotonia (a weak muscle tone) or experience muscle fatigue, please be aware and patient. Start with some sun-salutations for a few months and take your time to feel what effects sun-salutations have.
Because of my own results I wanted to reward myself. My first cheap yoga mat was dying, so I bought myself a brand new Manduka yoga mat and bag. I also bought new yoga clothes from one of my favorite brands: Onzie. Don't they look great?
I bought my yogamat and bag at Yogashop.nl: www.yogashop.nl
I am especially happy about Onzie yogawear. The clothes are ordered in the US, but they always arrive in Holland after no more than five day's:
Because some items were out of stock, I ordered those items at Evolve fitwear. I can't wait for them to arrive!
So as an answer to why EDS makes me happy:
- I'm mentally stronger because of overcoming the challenges of having EDS.
- Without EDS I would have never found out that yoga could be a new passion and I'm looking awesome doing it :D