It’s all about Awareness

With May being Celiac Awareness Month, I’m going to focus today’s post on awareness. I’m going to compare yoga with Celiac Disease. Yup, you read that right. You see, after 26 days of yoga in a row, there’s little else that is focused so prominently in my head. So I figured now was the time.

On another note, we got the results for Mr Man’s scope and of course, they came back positive for Celiac Disease. We are meeting with a nutritionist next week – not because I feel that we need to (I mean really, we just went from 50% to 75% of the house having Celiac.. it’s not like this is new to me), but I feel that Mr Man needs to. I think that at his 6 wise years of age, he will really benefit from this meeting.

Now onto the good stuff. I have divided this into 4 sections that came to my head.

Making Mistakes
I’m going to tell you a story. I fell on my face about 10 days ago. When I say fell on my face, I mean that I was showing off, trying to go into crow pose to show my husband my progress. I didn’t engage my inner thighs or my core. I tried to hold my whole weight on my hands. And I tilted forward and wham. Face smashed against the kitchen floor, nose bleeding, nose swollen, and a giant bump on it. I’m lucky I didn’t break my glasses. It was a hugely embarrassing moment. One that required a lot of gently reassurance internally for my bruised ego, and a lot of ice for my bruised nose. It took me a full week to be able to wiggle my nose without pain. But you know what I learned from that? Go into a pose with confidence and strength. Don’t go into a pose mindlessly because then that’s when you’ll fail. Each time you go one cm farther in a pose, you’ve accomplished so much.

How does this relate to Celiac? Think of it – the first time you tried baking how’d that go? What about all the products that you’ve bought that tasted so bad you couldn’t bring yourself to eat them despite spending a small fortune on them? Or what about the time you forgot to inform your friends, family, or the restaurant that you couldn’t consume gluten? Going gluten-free is an adventure; it’s a lesson in patience. You need to give yourself a break and know that we’ve ALL made the mistakes and we all STILL make the mistakes. We’re not perfect. Sure maybe after a few years we’re pretty confident in our abilities, but I still make things that sometimes taste like shit and wind up throwing them out.

It’s a learning curve – let yourself learn; let yourself fall.

Today, I managed to go into crow again – controlled and gracefully and though I only held the pose for the longest 2 seconds of my life, I wasn’t afraid. And I’m not afraid to try it again.

Listening To Your Body
In yoga at the beginning of almost every class, the instructor will tell you that this is your practice; it is what you make it. Yoga isn’t a competition. There’s no one going around judging you for not touching your nose to your knees in a forward fold. If your body says “I need a break”, going into Child’s Pose is ALWAYS an option. There are people that lay in the relaxation savasana pose the entire class and that’s okay. They are listening to their body.

Just today I went to Mr Man’s Mother’s Day Tea in his kindergarten class. I was sitting beside one of his friend’s mom’s. We started to talk about Celiac (because I’m not going to lie, I try to bring it up any opportunity I have so I can educate others) and the Mom asked me how I knew, how long it went on for, and how I got tested. I shared very basic information about My Story at which point she then informed me of some of her symptoms (and can I just say I love how comfortable people get talking about poop when they’re trying to get to the bottom of things?). My advice to her was: Listen to your body. If something feels wrong, then it’s likely wrong. Go get tested; then you’ll know.

People, listen to your body. Sure, some Celiacs are asymptomatic, but many Celiacs also live with their symptoms for years without being tested. So go, get tested.

Diving Deeper
In 26 days I have progressed to the point that I can now do Side Plank with a leg up. When I first started, I couldn’t even do Side Plank for more than about 2 seconds. I can reach my left heel to the floor consistently in downward dog and my right is almost there. I can twist a little bit farther, fold a little bit deeper and hold a pose a little bit longer. I am diving deeper into my practice both physically and mentally.

With Celiac, you can either stay at the surface or dive deeper. You can buy ready-made products (and there is NOTHING wrong with that!) or you can start experimenting. You can get involved with organizations or reach out and make other Celiac or gluten-intolerant friends.

In Mr Man’s class today they read Katie Chalmer’s book “Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?” – all of the kids went home knowing more about my son’s disease – what it means, what his body is doing, and how food affects him. His teacher told me the kids were mesmerized and loved that we sent in the book. We dove a little bit deeper.

Coming to Calm
As I said previously, I’m an extremely anxious person. I battle varying degrees of anxiety (and sometimes depression) regularly. Yoga has begun to teach me to be grounded, to be calm, and to quiet my mind. This has been the hardest for me to attain. This is often how my mind goes in yoga: Inhale… exhale… hmm.. my tummy really balloons.. what do they mean touch your belly button to your spine? Don’t they know that’s impossible? Oh I’m wandering again.. inhale… exhale… I wonder if I’ll be able to nap when I get home. Oh shoot I have to pick up the kids.. oh there I go again .. inhale… exhale… does anyone else feel funny doing a wide leg forward fold and looking up to see someone else’s butt?…
And so on. Quieting my mind has been difficult, and I’m not there yet. But I’m better than I was at the beginning.

I’m the same with Celiac. At the beginning, I was hypersensitive. I was paranoid truthfully, about potentially getting cross contaminated, or making a mistake. But slowly, over the last 3.5 years I’ve been coming to calm. I’ve been more at ease with Celiac because I know that I have a lot of control over it. It’s possible to still get glutened, but it’s also possible to be diligent without being anxious all the time. I’m comfortable in my knowledge; I’m comfortable being calm.

Yoga and Celiac.. they’re basically the same in approach and learning, and they’ve both been a godsend for me.


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