MG Has Changed My Perspective on Yoga
I didn't do yoga, let alone try it, before I started having myasthenia gravis (MG) symptoms. I imagined yoga as a long stretching session, something I was already doing. Typically, I wouldn't say I like going to the gym or working out. I don't find sweating profusely and heavy breathing pleasant. But, I ultimately crave feeling accomplished, strong, and proud of my progress after a workout.
I always stuck with progressive overload weightlifting and basketball because that was the recipe that lent me the results I was looking for at the time. I didn't think yoga could help further my results.
Myasthenia gravis setback
Myasthenia gravis took all my progress away. I was too weak to lift my head or arms or even get my legs to walk a few feet after my first crisis hit. I was back at the starting point. My appetite was decreasing. In addition to feeling weak, I started seeing my muscle tone wither away.
Trying physical activity again
If I knew one thing, staying immobile would not help the pain and cramps I was experiencing from MG. And neither was having no muscle to support my body. I had high hopes that becoming active again would help increase my weight and muscle tone, bringing my appetite up.
I started swimming, doing slow laps back and forth to get my body moving. I found that pool or water therapy can allows people with mobility difficulties to move more freely, often with no or minor discomfort. I would do jumping, shredding water, and exercises, playing with various movements.
I noticed a big difference in how much more mobile I felt my joints were and it decreased cramping. Yet, I didn't think moving around in the pool alone would help my muscles start toning up.
I started following instructional beginner yoga classes on a phone app. It was so defeating when I struggled to keep up and could not do basic yoga poses. My muscles felt constrained and unflexible. I was sweating a ton and breathing heavily.
MG convinced me that it would be impossible to progress and that I would always be weak. How would I gain muscle if I wasn't strong enough to do anything?
Surpassing all my expectations
I may be uncomfortable sometimes doing yoga, but after consistently returning to my mat, I dismissed that myth I had believed. Pushing ourselves means going out of our comfort zones. Our comfort zone can be to attempt physical activity! Our bodies won't be able to handle movement every day, and that's absolutely okay! But the day you feel you can move, try to push yourself without overdoing it. Remember to rest and have no expectations with MG!
Sometimes we can surprise ourselves with our capabilities. It takes hard work to see progress. I used to think yoga wouldn't supplement my exercise regimen. Now it gives me everything I sought before MG: feeling accomplished, strong, and progressing.
Yoga has made me realize that the suitable workout for us constantly changes with time and our body's needs.
Yoga accommodates MG well
Yoga has a never ending range of difficulty levels, making it accommodating and challenging all in one.
No need to make an effort to drive to a yoga class and feel intimidated by those around us, whether comparing ourselves to them or feeling we're getting judged. Unless in-person classes are your preference, of course! There are so many great apps and Youtube videos with yoga classes of all levels and lengths available - tons free! We can take breaks as needed without fearing we can't stay caught up. With MG, I can perform my best when I take as many rests as my body tells me it needs.
Every pose has a modified version so you never have to feel unaccommodated or that you need to skip a part of your class or yoga flow. You can also choose a resting pose instead of what the instructor says.
Best of all, for those of us with MG, yoga makes progress noticeable. In my experience, poses become easier with time. I was gradually able to span breaks further, and tackle more challenging moves. And with so much variety of difficulty, there are unlimited opportunities for growth, advancement, and improvement.
And if your MG regresses, the knowledge of all the poses you have learned will remain. You will be accomplishing so much by starting again with foundational beginning classes. Continuing is a success, not necessarily outdoing yourself each day.
It is essential for anyone with MG to seek ways we can feel successful and proud of ourselves. Surpassing our expectations of the limits MG has put in our lives is how we can stay motivated!
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