I recently interviewed fellow fibromyalgia blogger and holistic life coach, Melissa Reynolds, about yoga for fibromyalgia and your family. Melissa talks about her fibromyalgia story, how she came into yoga for fibromyalgia management, if yoga is possible during pregnancy, and how to get your kids involved with yoga.
Yoga is possible to manage #fibromyalgia symptoms. Here are some tips from a life coach and fibro blogger about yoga for fibro, during pregnancy, and your family. #beingfibromom #yoga #family Click To Tweet
Fibromyalgia Yoga for Your Family
Would you please share a little about yourself and your fibro story?
Sure, so I have had the symptoms for much of my life. At 17, I was sent around to some specialists and then left alone, they intimated I was making it up because my pain changed. At around 24, I was finally diagnosed but there was still no help. At 25 I realized I needed to take charge of my life would continue to be miserably hard. Over a period of nearly 10 years I have been working on my health, and for much of that time sharing my journey in a blog, in case it helped someone else too. I have halved my pain and fatigue levels and dramatically improved my quality of life- I’m so thankful every single day.
You are a certified life coach and yoga instructor. What led you to do coaching and teach yoga?
It was an organic, accidental journey! At the beginning of 2019, I was home with my third baby and wondering how on earth I could manage three children five-years-old and under, a job, and my blog (which included two Facebook groups and all the attendant details required to manage a blog). People had been telling me how much I had helped them and I was wondering what I could do to be able to continue to help and to make an income to support my family.
It was then I learned about the concept of life coaching and being able to study online. It was the framework I had been looking for. I literally took classes with my infant in the wrap. It helped me redefine how I managed my blog, resources, and groups. But, I wanted to offer something more practical – I myself use yoga daily and recommended it all the time.
Then I happened to watch a video from a fellow spoonie yogi who shared how she became a yoga teacher and that you can do it online. I was mind-blown. The only option, I had thought, was somehow managing two long days in a row for several weekends in a row – and paying thousands of dollars at the same time. It seemed counterintuitive to me – trying to cram all that knowledge and physical learning in so short a time. If I could even make it through the first day!
So, my husband and I agreed I would create a business plan, research reputable online providers and I would train. I found an amazing person who has been training in-person training for years and developed it into an online program – hundreds of people have been through. Her approach and philosophy gelled with me right away.
The training was hard (fitting it around three tiny children), learning anatomy was totally new to me, and I did extra research and work for my angle with fibromyalgia. But I did it! I gained my certification in December. And have adored every second I get to share these tools with people.
How does yoga help with managing fibromyalgia and a family?
For me, it helps manage my symptoms, thereby helping me manage the children. I get overwhelmed by their noise and touch and energy (they are all high-energy kids) so I can breathe, or meditate or do some stretches as needed.
They are tools I can and do enact anytime, anywhere and now I’ve learned them I have a valuable self-help toolkit forever.
The fact that the tools are so adaptable means that with very limited time and energy I can still “do” yoga. I will do a little standing sequence when I’m feeling stiff and watching the kids in the yard. I will do several floor poses next to them when they are playing.
Meditation helps me enormously, especially when they are babies and not sleeping in the night, to rest. I cannot nap, no matter how exhausted I am. So I do yoga Nidra guided meditations. It makes such a difference to the pain, fatigue, and my ability to cope.
Is yoga possible during pregnancy?
For sure. There’s actually some research showing that poses previously thought to be contraindications are totally fine so there are plenty of poses to choose from. The breathing helped me a lot during pregnancy and labor (I have long labors). The meditation saved my life as I get so tired and the sleep gets even worse from very early in pregnancy.
I have plans for yoga for pregnancy with fibromyalgia program as I’ve got some hard-earned knowledge, especially around pelvic dysfunction but I wanted some more training and need time to research. Time is a premium as a mama with three busy boys, a part-time job, a blog, a small business, and a chronic illness!
For those with children, how can we practice yoga to include our kiddos?
There’s a couple of options here. You can include them in your practice- my (now) six-year-old loved learning the new poses with me as I was training and let me use him as my first student. We practice together regularly. The three-year-old tries too. They both love the animal poses and show all the family their poses, “look, Nana, this is froggy”. The baby likes it when I practice on top of him and tickle him when I change poses.
I’ve also taught the six-year-old some mindfulness practices – when he gets overwhelmed or wakes upset from a bad dream we breathe. There is quite a lot of research showing the benefits of mindfulness for kids and adolescents.
The other option is to set them up near us – coloring is a great distraction – and do our own practice.
What courses do you offer and how can others connect with you?
If people are curious about yoga for fibromyalgia they can come and join my Facebook group Yoga for Fibromyalgia with Melissa vs Fibromyalgia.
I offer a unique, specialized virtual studio incorporating mindful movement, breathing and meditation – Yoga for the Chronic Life is a monthly membership where you get specialized toolkits and series (like Yoga for the Bed, Chair Yoga, the Beginner’s Journey and the 10 Day Meditation Toolkit), a library of classes and new classes added monthly. They are all designed to give you tools you can enact daily as well as gentle movement. I have been working on this in the fringe hours and am so proud of what students have been telling me they have achieved by using these tools.