Fibromyalgia and yoga

There it is, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, I got it yesterday. I already knew it, and yet, to hear it from my doctor was very saddening. He’s been treating my back for over four months now, and every time I go back it is a knotted mess once more. It just doesn’t go away.
It is just a word, and it doesn’t change me, I am the same person I was yesterday. But, somehow hearing it, I felt very sorry for myself. The yoga is helping, but even four months after starting a dedicated practice I still feel a lot of pain. It is less, but still considerable, I still don’t rest when I sleep, I still wake up cramped and stiff. I still feel ants in my fingers and toes, that ropy tightness in the hips, pressure in my neck, knots in my back. I still get mental fog that eats up most of my afternoons. I try to do my work in the respites of it.
If you met me you wouldn’t think I am in pain. No one believes me. I also do sports, I’ve become quite athletic, I’ve started to look athletic, and I’ve gained a lot of forward-bending flexibility. I do sports even if they hurt, everything hurts all the time anyway. Still have trouble to lift my arms, or to arch my back enough to stand up straight.
During the ashtanga practice, the miracle happens, as soon as I warm up my body opens up. I feel warm and alive, I am flexible, I am strong, I can move everywhere. I’ve incorporated a few more backbends at the end of the series, before the full wheel, so it won’t come as such a shock to my spine. When I’m warm I can more or less back bend. I have a beautiful nearly pain free 90 minutes, or two hours if I have time to keep going. As soon as I cool down the pain comes back, sometimes with a vengeance. I take it in stride, I hope it is the pain of healing, and realigning. The more I move the more that I ‘can’ move. Moving is life, stopping is dying, I must keep moving. A couple of weekends ago I went on a long walk in the mountains; about six hours of walking up and down rolling hills. I applied the principles of yogic breathing to maintain my spine open and expand the lungs. Insides pulled up and belly tucked in to support my lower back, lungs expanding up and sideways, not into my belly. Steady, strong (and kind of creepy-sounding) breathing as I walked up the mountains, and the exhilarating burst of energy that comes from lung expansion. I felt less tired at the end of that day, than at the end of every work day sitting in front of a computer. Even than at the end of days when I lay in bed at home without energy or will to pick myself up. Moving is living, starting to move is painful, but sustained, balanced, movement really helps. It gives me hope. Hope is the only thing I have.
This is the year when I will beat it back, I am committed. I’m confident that yoga will teach me how to take control of my nervous system, and stop all the shooting pains. I already feel a change, although there is still a long way to go. Now I need to commit with proper eating and sleeping patterns. I will not give up my life to this, it has taken enough already.
There is hope,
Love and light,
Luna Sol

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