small decisions


Normally on Thursdays I go to spin class and I go to a hot power yoga class. I went to bed early last night, because I was exhausted and my joints were and still are not feeling so good.  I didn’t feel like going to my classes today. I woke up this morning, feeling rested and ready to take on the new day. I’ve packed my gym bag and lunchtime yoga looks like it’s on the horizon still, however, I’m still feeling rather spent.

It’s days like this that I find difficult. I don’t know if I’m talking myself out of attending classes or if I’m trying to listen to what my body needs, which may be some rest.

I had a good friend tell me a couple of years ago, that if I’m feeling tired or starting to feel like I’m under the weather I should go to yoga.  It may seem counterintuitive, but this piece of advice usually works. So I made the decision to attend the yoga class.

It worked, by the time we were going through our flow, I was feeling far more energized than I had since the day before and I was appreciating where I was today, not yesterday and not where I want to be in my practice tomorrow or in a month, but appreciating that I was having a day where I was tired and my joints were reminding me they’re arthritic, but I can still practice yoga.

I made the decision after class to give spin a miss today.  Normally I have a lot of joint swelling in my knees directly after class for about 10-15 minutes and I was concerned that it could have been longer, considering how my body was feeling.


Battle of the joints

In September I participated in a 30 day yoga challenge. I loved it, but about half way through it, instead of feeling more amazing, I started to feel more uncomfortable. My joints had started to flare up.

I had been on a new Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) drug since February 2013, and it all seemed to be going really well, up until mid-September when the joints started to flare up, unfortunately they didn’t settle down. I struggled with an uncomfortable amount of pain and fatigue for approximately a month and a half. I didn’t realise just how bad it had gotten, until the relief came in November. 

The scariest part about my RA flare up, was how I adapted, and accepted the pain. I didn’t initally link my sudden exhaustion to my RA, I tried to attribute it to any thing else in my life. I thought my joints were sore, because of the 30 day challenge, not because my RA was paying me a visit.  And I just put up with it. It took me a few weeks to realise that it was my RA that was affecting me, and a few more still to have my appointment with my specialist.

At my appointment I spoke to my specialist, and he advised me it was normal for some patients to feel good whilst on their medication, and for some reason its was normal that it medications stopped being as effective.  We discussed other options, which unfortunately for me means, i need to consider the fact that I need to try new medications again. I left with more information about the new medication and another script to help manage my RA.

I decided on November 1st that I wanted to be happier than I was in October. I reframed my situation and was attempting to make the most of everything for the month. My appointment with my specialist occurred on November 5th and that appointment, along with the adjustment of my medication allowed me to physically make the most of what I actually wanted to do. 

Check out the images of joints and whats happening to them care of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Check out the images of joints and whats happening to them care of Rheumatoid Arthritis


If you wanted to read what it said, I thought I would share.

I feel conflicted as to what to do about my medication. On the one hand I want to go on the new medication because I could get really good results from it.  On the other hand, I’m scared of the side effects list and it’s mentally draining to continue to try new medications.  I have to make a decision by Dec 17th if I’m going to start a new treatment or not. However, I really don’t know what other choice I have.

Play: yoga

My form isn't perfect, but there it is anyway, upward bow, full wheel,  urdhva dhanurasana, whatever you prefer to call it.

My form isn’t perfect, but there it is anyway, upward bow, full wheel, urdhva dhanurasana, whatever you prefer to call it.

I’v tried yoga before, however it was always halfheartedly.  Part of it was because I thought of it as exercise, and the other part – though I didn’t know it at the time – was because I hadn’t found the right style of yoga for me.  Once I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) I started to consider yoga being part of my lifestyle.  Since making that lifestyle commitment, I have practiced for months at a time, however I have moved every six months for the last four years, so it still has been very difficult to practice regularly.  Over the last 2 years practicing yoga has been something I’ve really enjoyed and I find it really easy to get to my mat.  Every time I fall out of practice, I think that I missed yoga or wonder when I’ll next start; then when I start again and I’m in class, we start moving through poses and it hits me, just how much I needed it and that feeling reminds me how much I love it.  When we moved to Auckland in December, it was top of my priority list to find a yoga studio and by April I had started.

I’m not an advanced yogi by any stretch of the imagination but I am where I need to be right now in my practice.  It means that I can still be ambitious about where I’d like to take my practice, but I don’t have to beat myself up that I’m not there yet.  It means that I can smile as I fall out of balancing postures that just the day before I was able to hold. It means that I can try a new pose, have zero expectation to nail it first go, and just be excited that I was able to figure out how the heck to get into that position.

Yoga has meant that I’m not being as hard on myself and as a result on others. It also has given me back my confidence with movement and strength after getting my RA, and for that reason alone, I will continue to dedicate 1 out 24 hrs a day at getting on the mat.