Strength training, cardio work, and deep stretching have all been heavily encouraged to help manage symptoms and regain some of my independence. This suggestion has been made for years, both before and after receiving the dysautonomia diagnosis. Regaining some of my independence is a huge goal for me and I am eager to do what is necessary to restore my quality of life.
So what’s the big deal? How hard can it be? Experiencing difficulties like dizziness, syncope, nausea, and seizures with postural changes can obviously exacerbate the challenge of working out. Being an athlete for years presented a less obvious mental barrier for me; I was accustomed to the high intensity workouts of soccer and did not like being told to slow down in the gym and life. Years ago, prior to diagnosis, one doctor mentioned yoga because of its gentle properties. I did not understand the strenuous mental and physical practice of yoga and immediately disregarded the suggestion in favor of my beloved workouts (that I could no longer do). I allowed frustration (of lost independence), fear (of a potential accident), and ignorance (that yoga isn’t a deep workout) to immobilize me into doing nothing. Years later, here I am, still unable to do those workouts I love and desperately wanting progress in my recovery. I spent months in bed reading everything I could find on yoga. In the beginning, I felt even more intimidated and overwhelmed; there is a plethora of different types of yoga and the terminology feels like another language. In my readings, I found AZ Goat Yoga. I couldn’t help but feel giddy and nostalgic reflecting on the baby goat gifted to me by my Lito in my childhood. Remembering my goals, and knowing how badly I want to feel better, I quickly signed up for two. A wonderful friend, Stephanie, who is lightly familiar with my POTS struggles and an avid yogi/dancer herself, agreed to accompany/support me.
The laid back and inviting atmosphere quickly dissipated any hesitation I had left. Before I knew it, I was (sort of) holding poses and breathing, all with Stephanie’s guidance, modification and watchful eye. Meanwhile, the miniature goats were jumping on yogis in their poses (one facetious little guy decided my topknot wasn’t fashionable enough and hooved it out while I was holding a plank). Following yoga, we waited our turn to take pictures with the yogi goats. As fun and silly as this experience was, I woke up with the best kind of sore the following day. I have a heartfelt thank you to AZ Goat Yoga for introducing me to yoga. This is exactly what I needed to make my debut into the yoga sphere for my recovery and quest to increase mindfulness!