Last week I was interviewed by a journalist about my journey in healing from endometriosis . It was quite emotional. I had not thought about this for a while. How my life used to be so painful, both physically and emotionally. Not only with endometriosis but also in other areas of my life. I remember there were moments I was thinking I was getting nowhere, struggling with my pain. But looking back in this interview it was so clear. My goodness! I used to have pain, and now I´m talking severe pain, maybe totally seven days a month! And I know many of you are in this pain, maybe more, maybe less.
Today I´m basically pain free. I can have a bit of pain the first day in my period, but otherwise not. I still have issues with my body after all these years of pain and illness. I´m still working on my lower back pain and my tilted pelvis for example. So still working on things. But the thing is, instead of being frustrated I get excited. Weird? Hm maybe not! So this week I want to give you my best advice that I have used in my healing journey. This is why I have made progress in my health. This is why I continue working on myself and don´t give up. Never ever give up!
1. Use the strategy that works for YOU
We are all different and things work different for each individual. For me Yoga is always my main tool in my tool box. Whatever happens, whatever I´m doing, I have yoga sets/programs that I use. Yoga is my passion, that touches my soul. My diet is also always included in this tool box. Being sensitive to lots of foods, it´s important for me to stay on track. For some of you yoga is the thing that touches deep into your soul, for others it can be other things. It doesn´t matter, as long you feel that it helps you and you like it. Maybe it´s working out, pilates, acupuncture, mindfulness etc. Dare to try things. Feel how it feels. It doesn’t matter how weird it seems from the beginning and what other people think: Do it!
2. Be curious & creative
I have the advantage to be a very curious person. Having the attitude of being curious about things makes things so much more exciting and fun! For example, last year when I did a detox (oh by the way: I hate to detoxing) I was so curious if my headache would disappear or not. So I kept detoxing for two weeks and you know what!? My chronic headache disappeared. Last year my back pain got really bad so I decided to make my own yoga program, because nothing worked from the yoga sets I already had tried. I also researched about back pain what else to do and that was a lot of fun and has been very helpful in my continuing journey with my back pain. My curiosity has always helped me staying focused and on track.
Being creative has also helped me a lot. For example when I started my diet it was so much easier for me because I´m very creative when it comes to recipes. Instead of sweets I created wonderful rawfood desserts, that were much healthier for me.
3. Learn from mistakes and failure
Yes of course I have failed! Many times! In these moments it is of course not so much fun. But I try to learn from my failures. Life is about a constant learning. It would be boring otherwise. I have also had some back lash when some symptoms came back, but that makes me learn things about myself and I deal with it. For example it took me a while to realize that I´m very sensitive to nuts and chocolate. Sometimes I can eat a little bit and it´s totally ok, and then I´ve been thinking “Oh lovely, it´s ok to eat chocolate”. But no, unfortunately not, at least not a huge amount. Sometimes a strategy has been totally wrong. But hey, I have tried and if things don´t work, try something new!
4. Keep a journal
When I started my change in diet some years ago I gave it three months. I was not at all convinced it would work. It was hard work changing the diet so drastically. But what I did to know how my progress went, was to keep a journal. I wrote every day what I ate, how I felt and the intensity of pain. 10 was highly severe pain when I through up and fainted. 1 was very little pain hardly noticeable. In the beginning my pain just slowly decreased, it was not like a magical aha moment, except that I noticed that I felt much better without gluten. I went from 10 to 9. From 9 to 8 and so on. After about three months I was down to 5. But during these three months I could sometimes think that I coudn´t feel any difference at all, because the difference was not so big. But only because I was keeping a journal I could actually see that in reality I was feeling much better. This is something I´ve noticed over the years that in the short run being in a healing process it can feel that nothing has changed for the better, but if you look back after a longer period of time you have changed big time.
5. Never give up!
I have never given up. Of course I´ve had days when I have felt that everything is totally helpless, I´ve been crying thinking things are really not fare. Those days I have given myself permission to just feel sorry for myself but also not letting it go too far. Not getting stuck in that hopelessness. These days I take a break from everything and promise myself to keep going the next day. Sometimes we need to let our feelings flow so they don´t get stuck into our bodies that can give us more tension and stress. I always have hope, maybe because I have noticed that things work. That almost everything is possible. Maybe I´m a very optimistic kind of person, but that has always helped me.
What has helped you in your healing journey? What gives you motivation? Share in the comments below.
PS By the way: the weird photo of me is taken when I made a video, laughing my head off. I can have so much fun shooting videos and saying very weird things I later have to cut out... What the video was about? Ok Swedish people! Soon a Swedish online course for endometriosis is on its way!
A couple of weeks ago I was participating in a yoga course about stress and burn out. Having a history with being burned out I had been looking forward to this course. I don´t consider myself being burned out any more, but I was curious about the approach the yoga teacher had in her program.
What came to my mind in this course was the challenges and resistance we have for yoga and some yoga poses. If you have tried yoga you probably know what I´m talking about. I also have resistance even though I have done my daily yoga practice for years and also have been a yoga teacher for years. Some people may think being a teacher, that kind of challenges are gone, but at least for me I´m still learning and discovering things about myself all the time. Thank god for that, life would be very boring otherwise.
Anyway, in this course the Camel pose (as in the picture above) was included in the program and I realized I´ve been avoiding that pose for many years! Eh, 9 years to be exact.. It is a great pose that opens up in your chest,hips, pelvis & thighs. A great pose to do if you are somewhat closed in that area as many burned out people are.
The funny thing is that I also realized that my mind had convinced me there were other similar yoga poses that were less challenging. These thoughts were automatic, nothing I was really pondering about. Yep, my mind was manipulating me into a state of comfort. I tell my yoga students that challenging poses can be that pose you really need to do. Have to start to listen to myself I guess! ☺
(Ok, just need to mention, that I don´t mean that you should do a pose that is painful, that´s not what I´m talking about. My approach is and will always be that if a yoga pose is painful, gives you pain, you modify it. Just to straighten that out.)
When I think about this I also think about real life. Do we do the same in our lives, when it comes to challenges? Trying to avoid things that are uncomfortable, staying in the comfort zone? Missing out magic in life? Or maybe we even miss out important solutions in life, walking through life in the comfort zone?
I remember about seven years ago when I went to my yoga teacher for a yoga-therapy session. He gave me a very short but challenging yoga program with a pose that´s called Sat Kriya (see picture below). This pose I was supposed to do for 11 minutes, starting from 3 minutes and slowly building it up until I reached to 11 minutes for 40 days. Of course as a burned out person I took the challenge being a dedicated student ☺ . I remember I was so angry doing this pose, it felt impossible to reach 11 minutes without taking down the arms. My shoulders resisted, my mind resisted, but eventually I got to 11 minutes without taking down my arms, and also feeling just fine in that pose. I did it! And the result was: I felt great and in total balance. Steady as a mountain. Nothing could affect me in a negative way, not people around me, nothing. I was in total bliss. That´s what yoga can give you, if you are not afraid of trying. Accepting the resistance and let it flow through you instead of letting it knock you over.
As the yoga teacher (Elisabeth Engqvist) said when I wrote her some feedback about the course in Stress and Burn out: “The consolation in doing challenging yoga poses is that when you´ve done them it´s done, and eventually that pose is just another yoga pose as any other yoga pose."
So, yes I´m doing the camel pose now in my daily program that I´m going to do for 40 days. And eventually this pose is just another yoga pose as any.
What are your challenges? Please share in the comments below!
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”