It seems a lot of people share a similar yoga journey; it starts off physical, focussing on the Asana, then the breathing starts to deepen, then the mind starts to calm and then the spiritual side starts to shine through.

This journey helps to broaden the mind, to have a different perspective of yourself and life.

For such a long time I was stuck in bad beliefs and habits, which deepened with each flare-up, doctor’s visit, operation and hospital stay. I started to build a wall and became increasingly intolerant of people complaining about what I deemed little things like colds or IBS. Life was not fair after all and I was struggling, physically and mentally.

But as I started breathing deeper and calming my mind I started to feel better. Mentally at first, physically later. It has helped me with perspective; where I used to feel hard done by (why me?) and ungrateful for my ‘broken body’, I now feel grateful for the amazing things my body is capable of. Everyone has issues, problems and worries of their own, there is no comparison, no need to judge as we each have our own journeys to make.

It has made me realise that that way I am currently managing this illness needs to be addressed as there is no amount of infusions and drugs which is going to make me better. Worse, the very real side effects of these drugs are painful to read and must at some point have a reverse effect. The surgery to remove the ill part of my body which was supposed to cure me has only resulted in the illness coming back somewhere else (from Ulcerative Colitis to Crohn’s). Why did I not realise earlier that it is going to take something other than ‘medicine’ to heal me.

Sitting in an office up to 12 hours a day in air-conditioning, TL lighting, no natural light, no plants, eating processed food at my desk. Evolution hasn’t quite caught up with that way of living…. So I am going to make changes, slowly as the reality of life is that I need to make a living and office work is what I need to do for now. Teaching yoga at works helps. Breathing exercises at work help too.

Now it is time to address the food issue; I need to check what my allergies are and make a conscious effort to change my diet so my body doesn’t create an autoimmune reaction every time I eat.  I'm hoping that I might be able to move to the countryside and teach full time and enjoy a more natural environment.

Regarding the food issue; I have been watching a documentary called ‘Betrayal’ by Dr. Tom O’Bryan which is all about autoimmune illnesses and how they are spreading in the Western world. Try to see past the slight sensationalist way it is brought (and the director is a bit much) because it has incredible information, I very much would recommend it for autoimmune sufferers who have been through the mill and are wanting to look beyond a medical solution. I'm staying sensible though, I wont just stop my meds, but I am actively looking to break this vicious circle of drugs.

The last year has been eventful; from being off sick for 3 months, to doing my 200hrs yoga teacher training and now having taught over 35 yoga classes at my work. I have learnt and am learning so incredibly much, I feel more alive and present than ever before. It feels like a lot of experiences are coming together for something altogether more meaningful.

In a time of chaos and despair in the world, I’m learning to create a bit of calm and healing from within which I can hopefully spread it around me, trickling out into the world and I'm grateful for the journey.