I am now able to control my hypertension through relaxation techniques, and also manage the pain I had experienced from autoimmune connective tissue disease.

Last Spring, my sister told me she was considering attending a yoga class for larger women; she thought this might help with her chronic physical disabilities. This seemed to me like a great idea and wanted her to follow through with it. I also knew that if I joined in with her, she would be more likely to get started and stay with it. Well, guess what? I found that this class was the perfect prescription for my own physical pain. Here I was sitting all day at work transcribing documents on the computer. My body ached constantly from head to toe. I complained that I was 50-something going on 80-something! I was becoming discouraged that it was all downhill from here, that getting old was painful.

At first I found that one of the most positive effects of yoga was the peaceful calm it created, the softening of my tension, the unbelievable beauty of relaxation and feeling centered. I would hobble into an evening yoga class and then float out when it was over! I began to look forward to class each week knowing that I would emerge with renewed spirit no matter how bad my mood was going in.

More recently, I was diagnosed with autoimmune connective tissue disease. Finally knowing what was causing so much of my aches and pain was definitely scary at first. But I was soon able to appreciate that the yoga I was now doing would be the ideal way to address the condition by keeping the tissues elongated and flexible. With yoga, I have been able to use both stretching and relaxation to better manage my pain. Whenever different areas of my body feel challenged during yoga, I find breathing through the challenged area creates an immediate decrease in the discomfort. I have even used this breathing technique outside of yoga.

I am now able to endure more as I become stronger and more confident thanks to practicing yoga. These stretching techniques have helped my body to lengthen and loosen the tight, achy tissues affected by my disease. I discovered that using the stretching techniques while still in bed, before taking my first steps each morning, decreases the level of discomfort I have when I get up for the day. I am even sleeping better as my hips no longer ache at night. I can even be found lying in bed with the soles of my feet together in cobbler’s pose while I read my book. It just feels natural and quite comfortable! I am grateful to have yoga as an important contributor to my physical and emotional well being.

– Lisa K.