My Complicated Relationship with Movement Part 1

Posted by Nikki DiSalvo on

I know it can be really hard to stay physically active when you have Lyme Disease. It's so difficult to judge how far to push yourself. When to rest and when to move your body. How much pain and nausea outweigh the benefits of being active. I'm struggling with that a lot these days.

Before I was diagnosed I practiced yoga in some form almost every day and went to classes about twice a week on average. Sometimes I felt fantastic after class but other times I was knocked out by it in a very bad way. I would have a raging headache, nausea, horrible neck pain, and a stiff neck and back. I could never predict when yoga was going to be helpful versus when it was going to make me wish I had just stayed in child's pose the whole time.

But at the same time I strongly believe that having a yoga practice is one of the things that helped me not lose my absolute marbles when I was having all those befuddling symptoms. I just remembered this post I wrote on Facebook:

Nikki DiSalvo
Septempber 1, 2014

So I did my first entirely freestanding headstand today. And then I was so excited that I did a bunch more randomly throughout the day because, well, why not.

Likely only my fellow yogi friends will even care a smidgen about this, but for me it was totally not just an asana thing. Not just about putting my body into an inverted position. When I first started working on headstand it was a lot about wanting to feel like I was strong physically. But more and more it has coincided with building trust and security within myself. Getting my feet slowly up off the ground -- together, smoothly -- takes not just core strength, but a deep belief that I have got my own back. That if I start to lose stability, in practice or in life, I can catch myself; if not always gracefully, at least with gentle intent.

That's what yoga does for me. It guides me to feeling like that. Right now I feel like I'm losing stability. I'm frequently uncertain, sometimes scared, and often frustrated. And I haven't been admitting it, even to myself. That tells me that I have some work to do.

Even if I can't do a freestanding headstand right now, I can do a modified practice, resting when I know my body needs to. I can go back to meditating every day. If my back and neck are in too much pain to do a seated meditation I can lay down and do it. There's no rule that says I can't do those things, unless I impose it on myself. 

Right now I have to catch myself, to pause and offer myself that gentle intent. I think many people living with chronic conditions (and a lot of others too) get so wrapped up in what we can't do that we forget to focus on living in our bodies the way they are right now. On my birthday several months ago, I said my goal for the year was learning to do a back handspring... there's a strong possibility that's not going to happen. But that doesn't mean I should give up on having goals all together.


Be Well,