Does your yoga practice help you deal with a physical disability or other health issue? Sharis’ does. She has a moderate hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It can be very frustrating and physically exhausting. When the tinnitus really flares up, it can be quite debilitating, making it hard to think, and her balance can suffer. It can sometimes lead to feelings of vertigo or extreme dizziness.
Through out her struggle, she turned to the Bikram yoga practice for routine, for solace and for strength. Now, she recommends yoga and meditation to all her friends with an injury or ailment as a way to deal with the frustration, but also to give the body and mind the strength it needs to survive and thrive despite the challenges we face every day. I think this is the case for many people battling physical ailments and infirmities.
One of the things about Bikram yoga is that it is accessible to people of all physical abilities. I have been in classes with people who suffer from Lyme disease and Parkinson’s, people who are recovering from cancer, people who are recuperating from serious knee or back injuries, and students who are dealing with more invisible ailments such as depression or mental illness. In all cases, the yoga practice seems to provide a physical release along with a jolt of mental strength to tackle whatever challenges they have to face that particular day. For me, I know it helps me to blow off the steam of frustration or confusion, teaches me to persevere in the face of discomfort, and to find stillness and calm when things get tough.
Shari’s hearing loss was not something she talked about for many years – trying rather to hide it and ignore it. However, in the past year, she has “come out of her hearing loss closet” and become a hearing health advocate. Check out her blog – Living With Hearing Loss, where she discusses the challenges and issues related to hearing loss and tinnitus. Her goal for the blog was to share her story in hopes of helping others to live more peacefully with their own hearing loss and tinnitus. She believes the Bikram yoga practice is in part responsible for giving her the personal strength and resilience to acknowledge her disability and to become comfortable in the face of this discomfort.
Readers, does your yoga practice help you cope with a physical or mental challenge?