Kate Blake shares her experience of Movement For Modern Life as someone living with chronic fatigue syndrome. Discover how she has embraced a morning practice and her practical adaptations for those working with limitations.
Inspired by Kat’s email ‘The Power of Preparation’ in which she encouraged us all to think about the time of day that suits us best to practice, Simon (my husband) and I decided to experiment with different times for our daily yoga session.
We have started this by moving it from late afternoon to first thing in the morning. I was not optimistic about this! I am a morning person but Simon is a night owl and I envisaged him being reluctant to get up and me being impatient to get on. However we have settled into a great routine and the benefits have been interesting and inspiring.
We decided to use the MFML search facility and to find and work our way through the ‘Morning Energiser’ practices for beginners. Some of them were too strenuous for me and so I did my own thing alongside Simon while he followed the teaching. I found that I still felt the benefits of the teaching points and of the energy flowing from both the teacher and Simon, so still a win.
Don’t Get Disheartened
It’s easy to get disheartened when you start a class that proves too much, especially if you’re practising alone so here is my selection of the sessions/classes which suited my energy levels best – a great place to start if, like me, you are working within limitations.
This is such a great class for the morning. I often wake up with a headache/muscle tension and the start of this, where Dr. Yogi guides us calmly through noticing tension and releasing it to drop down into relaxation, puts me into a perfect place both physically and mentally to start moving.
I like the way he encourages us to tune into breath and body, “oil” our joints with our breath and experiment with “playing into the area”. The act of setting an intention grounds my yoga practice into the day ahead. And I really appreciate his reminder to “notice how this feels TODAY”. It’s very easy when you have a chronic condition to make generalised assumptions about how your body is and not listen to it and appreciate fully its nuances. It helps me start each day fresh, as a new day, full of its own possibilities.
Jean Hall’s Awake to Yoga class takes me on a similar journey from morning tension to relaxation and then moves into a wonderfully rhythmic slow flow of movement. I like the inclusion of a gentle twist and can do the standing breathing and release section which is short enough for me to manage and makes me feel energised and powerful.
I adapt the middle section of downward dog and folded rocking by going into Child’s pose while following her instructions to relax my neck, stretch through my back, notice my weight evenly distributed and BREATHE!
Dan’s class gives a completely different start to the day, invigorating but not too strenuous. Again there are some moves I can’t do – a lot of the hands and knees section and the core section is too hard for me yet – but I adapt this to poses and moves I can do.
Don’t be put off! It’s all worth it for the joyful hands and arm warmup and for the names he gives these asanas which always makes me laugh – what better way to wake up your spirit to the day than movement and laughter! Again, like all the great teachers on MFML, he encourages making choices, being conscious of our body in the NOW and responding wisely with adaptations if necessary.
Benefits of Morning Practices
It has been a great month. I have added to my favourites list. Simon has really enjoyed the morning sessions. It wakes him up physically and mentally. And I have discovered that it curbs my impulse to go at top speed with my morning burst of energy (only to crash out by late morning). Following a class, I am able to tap into a different kind of more sustainable energy and ease into my day in a more relaxed and mindful way. There can’t be a better way to start the day!
Kate Blake is a former teacher who’s life was changed by illness. Kate’s column tells how yoga has brought joy into life with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and shares tips about the best classes to choose on Movement For Modern Life.