Welcome to Taming The Walrus!
In 2000, at the age of 34, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). At the time, I thought I had ‘my dream life’: teaching at university, doing a PhD, attending international conferences, meeting new people… I had it all! Then the first MS symptoms appeared. Next came the diagnosis… It took a while to bounce back, and learn how to live well with MS.
My new life is completely different, but so much better! Looking back, I have no doubt that Yoga was THE key factor. It led me to a healthy lifestyle. I now live in the South of Portugal, in a small village in the hills north of Faro. Nature all around us is gorgeous.
We all know that reducing stress is essential but so is physical activity. Keeping active reduces the risk of getting infections, high blood pressure, cardio-vascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, etc… Over the past twenty years, researchers have also shown that exercise promotes brain plasticity by stimulating the formation of new brain cells! So if you want to keep your brain strong, then exercising – whether in the gym, outdoors or on a yoga mat- is key.
However, experts now highlight the need for ‘functional training’, ie building endurance, strength and coordination to maximise our performance in everyday tasks, which is highly relevant when living with a chronic health condition like MS but also simply as we age. Yoga is a valuable part of functional training. According to Harvard Health, yoga improves ‘the body’s ability to interpret and respond to nerve signals sent back and forth between the muscles and the brain. The increased connectedness of mind, nerves, and muscles results in more fluid body motions and quicker adjustments to unexpected situations like tripping over a curb‘.
BUT we are more than just physical bodies. Life is challenging. With or without MS, we all face stressful situations. Keeping our bodies strong and flexible is essential but it isn’t enough. We also need to look after our mental health and make sure we have the resources to embrace whatever life throws at us. Fortunately, yoga is not just exercise! Both yoga and Breathwork offer amazing tools to look after our emotional wellbeing.
With Yoga and Breathwork, we can move our bodies, free our minds and transform our lives for the better, and I hope you’ll join me on this amazing journey.