I mentioned that it was my intention on Friday morning to attempt a yoga mini-retreat. Yes I intended and I succeeded.
Don't get me wrong. I am not talking about 3 hours of American-style aerobic non-stop yoga, without pause for breath and sweat dripping off me in bucket-loads. This was calm, focused, easy, beginners yoga, with poses and counter-poses, meditations and breathing exercises. As I wrote to my husband in an email at lunchtime Friday; "Completed a three hour yoga marathon! Without one breathless, ouch or creaking moment!"
What really helped me in this was something I learned during the week from a study I was reading, by Dr Nancy Klimas. Dr Klimas runs an ME/CFS treatment clinic in Miami and has completed a lot of research on the subject, at the University of Miami. Her studies have found that the crucial thing about doing activity, and doing too much activity in ME patients is the way that the breathing and heartbeat are working together. As soon as aerobic activity becomes anaerobic activity (which can be in as few as 2-3 minutes) the cells in an ME patient need to search for more energy and start using reserves which simply aren't there. Only by limiting aerobic activity, to that short amount of time and interspersing it with equal amounts of time spent resting, can the cells regenerate energy, without seeing the desperate daily or hourly crashes and exhaustion. Until I see a vast improvement in my energy levels, which will suggest I can last longer in aerobic activity before moving into anaerobic activity, will I let myself get breathless without checking in and slowing down or resting.
This is probably the main reason that so many patients have recovered from ME by practising Yoga and slowly increasing their stability. If you can breathe you can practise Yoga. On a bad day, I know I can lie in bed and practise breathing and also meditate.(that sounds daft-I do know how to breathe!) On better days I can hold poses and stretch my limbs out to encourage flexibility and slowly iron out all those creaks and aching joints that still haunt me. I enjoyed Friday's mini-retreat and until I can make it to a regular class with a hands on instructor to guide me through some of the more complicated poses, I intend to continue as I am with my new accessible technology-wise classes and a friendly Yoga website to answer any questions should I have them.
I have been using these two wonderful websites, with YouTube and iTunes podcast links, and both have answered any questions whenever I have asked
And Namaste Yoga (link)