Last week I shared with you how receiving my first self-care toolkit and learning to etch my EmbodyMap at the therapy ball training was the start of me knowing this body of mine, this vessel that envelops me, a little bit better. It was the beginning of learning a new language, the one my body speaks to me, opening up a conversation between us. Up to that point, the communication had been mostly one-sided, my brain overpowering and telling my body what to do. No longer is this the case. Now my body has a chance to converse with my brain, asking for what it wants. And now, because of the other various Tune Up Fitness trainings I have attended, I’m equipped to give it the attention it’s seeking with one of the many tools in my self-care toolbox.
It was at the YTU Level 1 training that I was offered a shift in my thinking with my first Sankalpa: “I am enough.” This not only helps me when I teach, but it comforts me in dealing with my disease. I am enough even when I feel healthy and well and even when I don’t. I am enough when fatigue sets in followed by self-doubt, sadness, or depression from dealing with a chronic condition.
I am enough. Period. Besides this, I was encouraged throughout the training to meet my body where it is and to modify as needed. Admittedly, sometimes this requires patience. But that’s okay because through patience comes gentleness which is often what a healing body needs. All of these things: remembering that I am enough, meeting my body where it is and modifying poses reinforce the mindset that I’m unique, that my body is my own. I’m to treat it with respect, honor, gentleness, kindness, etc. and to listen to it no matter what, autoimmune disease or not.
The Core Integration Immersion proved to be more than “A Total Abdominal Awakening” for me. Here is where I was enlightened to the belly-brain connection. Indeed, we discussed and experienced the emotions, memories, tension, pain, etc. held within the gut. We talked about intimate things like the pelvic floor, sphincters, abuse, and more. These were things, from my experience, not talked about in public, let alone the yoga studio. But, because Jill Miller created a safe space and allowed us to talk openly about these things, something in me began to soften. Through her example and leadership of sharing deeply, she set the stage for us to do so as well. This initiated the freedom for me to talk about my Crohn’s Disease. I’m now a “Crohnie” on a mission to educate others about IBD, which for most people is not easy to publicly talk about because of the nature of the disease. It’s not really polite or politically correct to discuss the bowels and all that’s related to them. I’ve met some IBD sufferers who have hidden their disease for years because of the shame they felt in having it. I no longer feel this way and share openly about my disease.
While attending the Breath & Bliss Immersion, I was taught that we “should have our hands all over ourselves.” When Jill Miller said this, I’ll admit, it sounded strange. The thought had never occurred to me. As I pondered her statement, I agreed with her, especially in light of the fact that we often nonchalantly give our bodies over to doctors, lovers, children, body workers, etc. Why shouldn’t I know my body better than they do? This idea really hit home for me during the weekend as we explored our necks to touch the thyroid, cervical spine, and hyoid. For all the times my endocrinologist had touched my thyroid, I don’t know that I ever had! Besides touch-work, we did breath work, We discussed why conscious relaxation works and learned to maximize it. I refer back to these experiences often, especially when I really need it like those times I had to inject myself with my medication – two syringes, one in each thigh. Being able to consciously relax and breath made it easier.
All of these moments – exploring, massaging, touching, breathing, relaxing, etc. – have coalesced together to create a more embodied me. This is so true that when my husband took me to the ER for pain I was able to tell the doctor with assuredness, “I think my ileocecal valve is inflamed.” As it turned out, I was right. Another time, when I rolled my ankle, I was able to explain to my chiropractor that the pain was centered around the tendon of my fibularis which gave her a starting point for treatment.
Because of Yoga Tune Up®, I’m able to listen deeply to my body and speak its language. I mostly understand what it’s saying, but honestly, it’s an ongoing process. That’s fine because, through YTU, I’ve added so many tools to my self-care toolkit. I’ve been taught how to breathe, alter my mindset, and down-regulate from 60 to 0 which helps me deal with my disease when pain is overwhelming or I experience challenging moments like being put in the tunnel for an MRI, etc. I also have therapy balls that naturally help relieve some of the intestinal, joint, and muscle aches and pain that are associated with Crohn’s Disease. All of this helps me all of the time, but especially when my disease flares.
You too can reap the benefits Yoga Tune Up® has to offer. Attend a training, immersion, or a workshop to go really deep into your body. If these aren’t possible right now, take advantage of the online videos, reach out to a certified teacher who is willing to do some virtual sessions with you, or grab a copy of The Roll Model® Method book. No matter what you choose, you too can get to know your body better, to live better in your body, whether something ails you or not!
Thank you for this article. It sounds like YT has really changed your relationship you have with your body. (It’s changed mine too). More trust and understanding. It’s a bit wild to think there can be any other way to relate to the body. “Our body” being different than our mind. It’s puzzling. I wonder at which age that gap starts to be created, 5? 7? When did we start to “make” the body perform, to be and act a certain way?
Christina, yes yes yes! When I read “Because of Yoga Tune Up®, I’m able to listen deeply to my body and speak its language,” I blurted out a loud EXACTLY that woke up my husband. Thank you for sharing your spoonie-ness, for spilling your guts, and for inspiring other autoimmune patients to keep moving through it all.
Yes! I am realizing more and more how many people feel or act as though the brain and body are working against each other. There needs to be more listening or tuning into what the body is asking of us. I see this a lot with patients with autoimmune diseases, they fight their bodies because they are competing with “normal” people. Sometimes the best treatment is surrendering to our bodies.
Thank you for sharing this intimate and personal story. It gives me hope that I can help others, help themselves overcome some of the stress associated with their chronic illnesses. I am in the training now and it is really weaving so many things together and helping to solidify ideas for how I can move forward with my teaching.
Thank you Christina for sharing your story. As a person also living with chronic conditions, I can definitely relate. All the best on your journey.
I’m saddened that society places such stigma on sharing our physical struggles. I’m so happy that you found the inner space to share to your outer space. YTU has also helped me turn inward and talk to the parts that aren’t feeling particularly as healthy as the others. I hope you go on to educate the public about Crohn’s Disease.
Thanks for this inspiring and heartfelt article. And i agree with you, we must learn to speak the language of our body, touch it, explore it and empower ourselves through educating ourselves about how it functions, to listen what it needs and what works for us.
Thanks so much for writing this heartfelt article, Christina. My brother just had a Colostomy, thanks to a very rough battle with severe Ulcerative Colitis. I look forward to sharing this with him.
It is so crucial to be our own best advocates. I have a doctor’s appointment coming up, and honestly, I am excited for it because for the first time I will be able to be clear when telling my doc exactly what and where I am experiencing discomfort, thanks to Yoga Tune Up training. Also, being kind and loving to my body using the Therapy balls, my own hands, maybe some body oil can do so much just to shift the course of my day. Showing love to my students has to be preceded my showing love to myself. Thanks for the reminder! <3
Muchas gracias Christina, por tu valentía y compartir tu experiencia. Tu artículo es muy inspirador y puede ser de mucho beneficio para tantas personas!. Tengamos o no una enfermedad autoinmune, definitivamente conocer el lenguaje del cuerpo , poder escuchar y abrirnos a la experiencia , hará nuestras vidas mucho más ricas .
This is interesting to think of talking about these things openly. I’ve lived with the shame of chronic pain that affected my digestion since I was a kid and I never talked about my issues with anyone. This was isolating. Your post is inspiring me to look into the ball and core trainings to further my understanding of how to release. I’ve done a good job taking care of myself over the years, but there’s more and I think this work may help. Thanks!
That so true, I think they should teach that at school !
I have recently completed training and awaiting to become certified. A unique journey into oneself through self care, proprioception and the opportunity to shift and change on your terms. Keeping it fresh and new a complete bonus into the discovery of self.
Thanks for such great information
I just begun my journey with YTU cert 1. This 7 day workshop has taught me how to care for my body after having both my hips replaced last year. I can not wait to continue my journey with YTU. My hips and entire fascia system thank you.
Knowing our bodies better than other people, this is crazy to think about! We truly take for granted the amount of tools we could be using, and the resources we have at our disposal. Empowering ourselves to take back control is so important. Creating the brain to body connection helps us create a nurturing relationship with our bodies. Thanks for sharing your story.
Great message, Get to know your body better and you can live better. Take care of your body and it will take care of you!
that is so interesting! I have an autoimmune desease as you have and a felt a massive influence of using an sankalpa as you did. I guess this works directly on my stress level. And to see you rolling the core with your Morbus Crohn encourages me to continue here as well. Thank you for sharing!!
Thank you for sharing your story. It’s so amazing that you found Yoga Tune up and it’s helping you to learn your body (embody your body) and your learning it’s language. I love that you point out how we all need to know ourselves better, especially when we sometimes freely give ourselves over to other body workers/practitioners.
So powerful and empowering, all the very best with your exploration.
So cool! One of my favorite aspects of living with chronic conditions is that the only way through the suffering is to develop a deeply relationship with my body. Transcending the body did not work, because it just lashed out at me and told me to pay way more attention. Giving ourselves over to medical providers is so easy but it takes away some of my agency for healing. Hands all over myself every day!
Thank you for sharing this post. I just started my Level 1 certification and I feel a strong sense of connection to your sankalpa. I constantly worry about not being enough, having enough, experiencing enough and it affects being mindful. I also suffer from an auto immune disease and am very hopeful that this direction of Yoga Tune Up will help me be better to ‘get my hands all over my body’ and trust myself to heal.
Thank you for sharing your story as well as your Sankalpa 🙂
Christina, I am thrilled to see that not only rolling, breath work/practice, and self care has helped you to transform your pain, but to also see that you are so empowered to spread and share this knowledge to those who are probably desperately wanting help to also alleviate and transform their suffering. Thank you again for sharing and empowering others. Peace, Love, and Blessings!
I totally get what you have written. The Yoga Tune Up Level 1 is the best training for self care, self awareness and personal growth.
I really appreciated you sharing your Sankalpa. I think that “I am enough” is such a huge mind shift for many of us. It is only recently that I have really started to feel how many of the things I am doing are to try and achieve something or to gain some kind of approval. I don’t have it wrestled down yet but I think I am starting to feel what an important feeling “I am enough” is to help me live my best lives.
Thank you for sharing your story. You are so inspirational and I truly admire that you are so open to share this experience because it helps others that are experiencing something similar. It is so great that you can feel empowered now that you have tools to help yourself!
I love the “we should have our hands all over ourselves” quote. It is quite strange that we touch ourselves less then others do. The feedback we receive through touch can be the best way to integrate all that we do (and don’t do) with ourselves. What great reminders for our self care tool box!
Thank you for sharing your Sankalpa and the powerful meaning it has for you. I think that in our busy lives it is easy to lose focus and stray away from our own internal needs. Having a Sankalpa that speaks to our inner self can help us remain centred.
The anatomical knowledge from yoga trainings has served me as well in terms of being able to effectively communicate with my medical doctors and advocate for myself.
Thank you for sharing your experience. As an instructor and practitioner, I fully believe yoga can be helpful for anyone. I appreciate hearing about someone else’s yoga journey. Personally, I have turned to my yoga as I heal/process injuries, grief and anxiety attacks – what a blessing it is when my once familiar body becomes foreign territory as pain or emotion move through.