Sunday, July 29, 2012

I got distracted on PubMed and found Kabalabhati breathing

I confess, I never thought of searching "yoga" in PubMed (though I search "lyme" and "tick" all the time.  To a certain extent, it's a similar experience: frustrating. There's plenty of "yoga helps X" out there, but it's pretty vague, not a lot of what kind, how much, how long, information. Like this one: The Acute Effects of Yoga on Executive Function.  Cognitive performance improves more after a yoga session than after, say, aerobics.  Does it last? Are the effects cumulative? What kind of yoga? Can't tell. But, if my brain works better after yoga, that's good information, if incomplete and unsatisfying.

This, though, is more helpful:  Finger dexterity and visual discrimination following two yoga breathing practices.  Two groups, one practicing kabalabhati, the other practicing "breath awareness." The first group did way better. At least one other study shows that kabalabhati breathing is good for your brain, though you've got to practice for at least 15 minutes to get the real benefits.

My brain can use all the help it can get right now, so kabalabhati is going into my practice immediately.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Goals, the plan, what I'm doing here, whatever

My major Lyme issues include: balance, loss of sensation in my right side, muscle weakness in my right side, general "CNS involvement" as they say, and fatigue.  I've also just started a brand-new, super-intense antibiotic regimen, so I'm also dealing with a major herx.  Thus, what I am looking for from yoga is two-fold:

Short-term: easing of the herx, probably through detoxification
Long-term (but wouldn't it be nice if it were short-term?): easing of CNS issues

I plan to explore newer science-y stuff with older texts in search of answers...and then, of course, try them out. FWIW, these days I practice Vinyasa Flow.  My mom taught Hatha, I've done some Astanga...these days I rely on my Shiva Rea DVDs to get me through when I cannot, as now, hack even an hour-long class at the studio.

So, some reading. First up: The Science of Yoga: the Risks and Rewards, by William J. Broad. Yes, that one. The wildly controversial one that has caused everyone from your neighbor to your great-aunt's roommate to tell you how you can kill yourself doing yoga. I've read it through already and he cites a number of studies, some of which I want to go back to and, you know, poke at. So, next post, we'll start there and see where we go.
Okay. So, lesson one: do not begin a new blog the same week you start new Lyme meds.  Forging on...a brief history of me, in terms of yoga and Lyme/tick-borne disease:


1987: initial infection with tick-borne disease
1991: diagnosed with fibromyalgia
April 17, 2011: dramatically reinfected with tick-borne disease
June 3, 2011-Diagnosed with Lyme.
July, 2011-Diagnosed with Lyme.
August, 2011-Diagnosed with Lyme and bartonella. Treated with low-dose antibiotics.
November, 2011-Results plateau. Switch to herbal.
January, 2012-Herbal remedies plateau.
June, 2012-Diagnosed, with labs!, with Lyme. 
July, 2012-Treatment with high-dose antibiotics begins. 

Began...immediately. My mom taught yoga. So I always was doing yoga, off and on, not really seriously.  But in '09 I started to get serious about my practice. By 2010-2011, I was putting in at least 1.5-2 hours yoga daily, and wanting more. I decided to apply to a teacher certification program--not a weekend one, but one that would make me work. I chose one, and applied. 
June 3, 2011-Accepted into a two-year yoga teacher certification program

Yes. If you're still reading, you've noticed that I was diagnosed the *same day* I was accepted to the teacher program. You have to love the universe's sense of humor, yes?