A Brighter View
By Laura Mills
My late-20s and early-30s are now a blur, a jumble of stressful events that included a lupus diagnosis. Like much of what happened to me during that time, I hadn’t expected it. I already had a history of anemia and constantly-cold, color-changing hands; rashes after time in the sun; occasional redness on my nose and cheeks; general tiredness; and a little bit of stiffness, especially in my legs. But I was 29 before I heard of Reynaud’s and somewhere in my early 30s—I don’t remember exactly—when the official diagnosis “SLE” appeared on my chart.
As a way of handling the cumulative stress of those years, a friend nudged me towards exploring yoga. I don’t know what would have happened to me if she hadn’t, for at the time I was physically miserable and mentally and emotionally washed out. The first thing yoga taught me was how to focus on my breath, and though I couldn’t explain why at the time, through my first few classes I learned that linking my breath with movement improved the way I felt inside and out.
At a time when I believed my body was my worst enemy and my life had no focus, yoga led me towards a place where I could better accept everything—lupus and all—and, among other things, gifted me with the physical, mental and emotional tools to cope with my chronic condition. Today, I am less stiff and more flexible all over as well as physically stronger than ever. I am able to sleep better, to slow myself down when stress levels rise, and to know when I need to treat myself to a few minutes’ rest. And, I can calm myself to the point where I at least see beyond the worst in situations ranging from traffic jams to disturbing test results.
I, my body, and my life all look a lot more beautiful from here.
Laura Mills teaches yoga in the suburbs.
Contact her via email at email@example.com