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Yoga Isn’t Optional

It was 5:30 Saturday morning and I couldn’t sleep. Knowing I wouldn’t wake up early enough to go to the farmers’ market before yoga, I debated which one to go to. Images of the apple hatch chile cobbler I would make from my market spoils evaporated as I recognized that yoga is not optional. It was an astonishing revelation. The surprise wasn’t in the realization itself, but from the fact that it had never occurred to me before.

I usually feel better after yoga than I do after acupuncture, physical therapy or visits with my doctor, yet yoga doesn’t have the same priority as medical appointments, which are practically sacred. I schedule appointments for the time of day I’ve been feeling best, arrange back-up transportation in case I’m not up for driving, and only cancel if I am absolutely certain I will be miserable if I go. I’d never skip an acupuncture appointment to go to a baseball game, but I have chosen baseball over yoga before. Psychologically, I treated yoga as a fun (and thus optional) activity, not a health necessity.

Getting to class regularly was as simple as shifting yoga into the mental category of mandatory medical activity. I initially worried that medicalizing something I love would hinder my enjoyment of it, then the simple beauty emerged: Migraine allows me to spend 90 minutes a day in one of my favorite activities. If I were healthy, I’d be rushing to maximize 30-minute workouts, thinking that an hour and a half of yoga each day was a wasteful indulgence.

9 Responses to Yoga Isn’t Optional

  1. Minnie Berensen says:

    Hi Kerrie,
    I was very glad to hear that yoga has been such a healing activity for you and that it has helped you deal with your migraines. I have been suffering from chronic migraines for 11 years now and since one year I have started exercising, something that I hadn’t done in a very long time. I now exercise regularly, about 1h30 per day, several times a week, and have noticed very positive results as far as my migraines are concerned. I have gotten to the point, where I would rather exercise than do other activities, which I would have probably chosen in the past, like resting on my sofa. I was inspired by a book I read, written by a migraineur, who advocates exercise and motion as a way of life. I first thought this would never work for me, but I was so desperate that I actually gave it a shot and I have to say the results are positive. It’s called ABL – Activity Based Living and there is a website. You may want to have a look. Now, more than ever, I am certain that some form of exercise is crucial in the fight against migraines. All the best, Minnie

  2. Minnie Berensen says:

    Hi Kerrie,
    I was very glad to hear that yoga has been such a healing activity for you and that it has helped you deal with your migraines. I have been suffering from chronic migraines for 11 years now and since one year I have started exercising, something that I hadn’t done in a very long time. I now exercise regularly, about 1h30 per day, several times a week, and have noticed very positive results as far as my migraines are concerned. I have gotten to the point, where I would rather exercise than do other activities, which I would have probably chosen in the past, like resting on my sofa. I was inspired by a book I read, written by a migraineur, who advocates exercise and motion as a way of life. I first thought this would never work for me, but I was so desperate that I actually gave it a shot and I have to say the results are positive. It’s called ABL – Activity Based Living and there is a website. You may want to have a look. Now, more than ever, I am certain that some form of exercise is crucial in the fight against migraines. All the best to you, Minnie

  3. Beth says:

    My gym membership and regular exercise are also medical necessities due to fibromyalgia, migraine, connective tissue disease, and some miscellaneous health issues. Even if I don’t say a word to anyone in whatever class I attend, having participated gives me joy. It sounds dopey, but “joy” has been the most accurate word I could find. Group exercise, whether it’s Pilates, step aerobics, or Zumba, lifts me up and gives me that positive something that’s so elusive. It’s not a fleeting rush from endorphins, but more a quiet sense of mental and physical well-being that helps me cope with those times of powerlessness in the face of overwhelming pain or fatigue. Yet, when someone realizes that going to my exercise class takes priority over many responsibilities that others put at the top of the list, they imply that my priorities are wrong. Explaining myself would take too much time and energy and they most likely wouldn’t get it anyway. Thanks for explaining it to the normals for the rest of us.

  4. Now I know that yoga really helps relieve and prevent headache. Thanks for sharing this stuff and please keep us updated.

  5. Very interesting, Kerrie! Hope the yoga continues to work for you, and thanks for sharing!

  6. Dayton Interventional Radiology says:

    Hi Kerrie, just curious, have you tried other types of exercise? I think it be interesting to see how different ways of staying active affect your headaches now that you know that yoga definitely does!

    Stephanie – Headache Management

  7. Maria says:

    Great article. I have done Yoga for years and I have seen some improvement.

    Maria

  8. steven says:

    Awesome site. I just heard about it in our Daily newspaper here in Winnipeg. As a Therapist, I work with many Headache sufferers and one very simple thing we need is lots of OXYGEN , cellular Hydration and like you mention, Calcium and Magnesium. Make sure your body is running very Alkaline. My Patients use the Xtreme X20 as it raises the PH of the water to 9.9 but also provides the trace minerals your body needs to function. I would also recommend a high quality Omega 3 but make sure it contains at least 70% or higher of the DHA and EPA as this will assist in opening up the tiny cells even more, allowing MORE nutrients in and of course, assisting in decreasing inflamation and improving nerve transmission. e-mail me if you need more info. Have a SUPER week.

  9. Kristen says:

    Thanks for sharing. I have been trying to get some yoga in my schedule. I’m surrounded by yogis at work and want to give it a serious try. I feel more motivated since it has helped you with your migraines.
    One important aspect to consider about yoga is it is based around balance and I know we all could probably use more of that in our lives. Ok, I’ll let you know how it goes!

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