Living well with MS can't exclude exercise.There was a time when my daily routine included walking for miles and playful activities like horseback riding, skiing, and dancing, but then I began to have trouble balancing and walking, so my life changed. I was familiar with yoga, and that fit right in as my abilities changed. When or if... Read more
There is a reference to yoga teacher Jenney Alterman's story. Here is the rest of Jenny's story.
"When I was a kid, I had a friend who was sick a bunch. She was always on the skinny side and was always kind of pale and weak. I thought it was just normal for some people to be that way. At the beginning of our freshman year of high school, we tried out for the basketball team. We had practiced all summer long and were so excited when we found out we made the team. We had visions of hoop victory, side-by-side showing everyone we deserved to be there. But a week later, we both got the bad news. My buddy, my partner in crime, my best buddy had mono. She would not ever play in a high school basketball game, she would never get to see me play in a game, and it would be nine months before I would see her again. That moment I knew something was not right with her. It wasn’t the mono, it was more than that. But at that young tender age, I had no idea what it was. Maybe it was just a feeling I had.
"A few years ago I attended training for yoga teachers and the adaptations of yoga for individuals with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). On that first day of training I knew what was wrong with my friend, she has MS. I haven’t seen my friend in many years and wondered where she was and how she was feeling. Wouldn’t you know a week after the training we found each other on Facebook! Wow, funny how the world works. I never made mention of MS to her, other than my training classes, but I think she knew that she had MS, but was unable to face it.
"I have always thought of my students and multi-level beings, containing both suffering and non-suffering parts of the body and mind, the way I want to be thought of by others. When working with someone, I see them as more than just a physical body. We are emotional and spiritual beings with different moods, energy levels, needs and desires. This is where yoga is so beneficial. We are not limited to the physical constraints. We can use breathing techniques, meditation and guided relaxation to promote a healthy mind and spirit to achieve freedom and flexibility beyond the muscles and bones.
"When working with MS it is important to respect the other person completely, understand the effects not just on the body, but on the mind as well. It’s hard for people with MS sometimes to face themselves in the mirror and not get depressed about their circumstances. This I believe is the most crucial part of the practice of yoga. Lifting the mood, accepting the body as it is and maintaining a healthy outlook. This can be the greatest obstacle to overcome for both the yoga teacher and student. However, this is not just limited to folks with MS, anyone can suffer this way. This surrendering is the turning point of many, and even though it is hard for all involved, I cherish every time I witness it. It means someone’s path has made a turn in a healing and healthy direction and that no matter how bleak the future seems, the mind and spirit can always shine a light to guide the way.
"My friend has since come out of the closet and shared she has MS. She now has acceptance and is on a path of light and love with all of us to support her."