Yoga Self Care for Autoimmune Diseases
As a person who lives with both these conditions I try to spread the word by showing how these diseases impact the lives of real people like me. I also try to support others living with these diseases during May too. Part of that focus this month included a one week yoga self care challenge. I host a Facebook group focused on Yoga for Autoimmune Diseases. This month, we took 5 minutes out of each day to practice a yoga inspired self care tip.
When I put the challenge together I tried to use yoga philosphy to focus on short, small goals that were easily achievable. Finding 5 minutes in our day is much easier than an hour and we’re much more likely to meet doable goals. People living with autoimmune diseases have enough challenges, we need some easy wins once in awhile.
This blog post summarizes the full challenge in one place so you can use it anytime you want. It only takes 5 minutes to work some yoga self care into your day.
Yoga Self Care Tip #1 – Hydrate
We started this challenge on a weekend, so I thought it was important to take care of ourselves in a way that we could do when we were already out and about. Women need approximately 11 cups of fluids a day. If 8 of those are cups of coffee, your body is probably not super happy with you. I’ve been drinking a lot of infused waters lately because that little bit of flavor really helps me drink more.
Yoga Self Care Tip #2 – Restorative yoga before bed
Spend 5 minutes in a restorative posture before you go to bed. If you need restorative yoga tips for when you’re having an autoimmune flare, read my blog post on restorative yoga focused on lupus flares.
Yoga Self Care Tip #3 – Rest
Some days it’s clear you need a nap but sometimes just a quick rest is enough to reset and rejuvenate. You always have 5 minutes to spare to nurture yourself.
Yoga Self Care Tip #4 – Be Inspired
Write or print out an inspirational quote that you can use when things aren’t going right for you.
The one I currently have in my wallet is from Pema Chodron. “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. Nothing every really attacks us except out own confusion. Perhaps there is no solid obstacle except out own need to protect ourselves from being touched. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting fo us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are seperating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we enounter, without hesitation or retreating into our ourselves.”
Yoga Self Care Tip #5 – Use a mantra
A mantra is a word or sound that you concentrate on and repeat to help you focus. I think this one is perfect for May because of the elements of repetition. It’s a mantra that combines the elements of a Metta meditation. You’re repeating good wishes for yourself and/or others as you use it to concentrate.
Yoga Self Care Tip #6 – Breath focused meditation
Most of us spend some portion of the day waiting. Instead of that being ‘lost’ time or being annoyed, can you turn it into an opportunity for a mini breath meditation? I applied this during car line picking up my kids on this day. In my yoga classes, I offer this technique for all that time you spend waiting in doctor’s offices.
Yoga Self Care Tip #7 – Create a UV kit
For the last day of our self care challenge we focused on putting together a sun protection kit. Many auto immune diseases flare up with UV exposure and no one wants skin cancer either. I live in FL so the UV index is often super high. I keep sunscreen everywhere – my purse, every car, my swim bag, my kid’s backpacks. Every litle bit helps.
If you’d like more self care tips specific to autoimmune diseases, I wrote a post about herbal facials for Sjogren’s Disease.
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