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.

Sankalpa creation, a YTU teacher training staple

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!


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