Epilepsy is scary, on any level. That alone makes it nerve recking to tell others around you what you’re going through. Well, today is my coming out day, I have epilepsy. Although I have found a pretty good regimen, the bottom line is that I have it. Okay, so maybe “control” isn’t the right word here but considering that all I can do it try my best to find ways not to invoke my triggers. I have found some holistic ways of controlling it to the best of my ability. My favorite alternative being Yoga.
I have been battling epilepsy since retiring out of the Marine Corps in 2007. It went from what was thought to just be migraines, to full blown seizures. For years I had no idea why I was getting these “headaches.” The “headaches” then turned into seizures with unknown causes. None of the million of tests were showing anything. My epileptic episodes where not triggered by strobe lights or anything like that, but from that good old stress with a side of anxiety, repression of emotions and lack of sleep. Yep, you heard me, stress, anxiety, repression of emotions and lack of sleep. I have always heard the saying “stress kills” but I had no idea that it would happen to me and not like this. Seizures are NO joke, especially when they seem to come out of thin air because you are your own trigger.
I never looked at yoga as anything more than super flexible people showing off just how flexible they are until I gave it a try. Well, that super flexible people thing turned out to be a fluke. I took a yoga class during my last semester of college where I learned what yoga was really all about–self-care. I honestly thought the yoga class was just going to be an easy A, but I worked damn hard for that A and it changed my entire life. Going to that yoga class each week gave me the physical and mental rejuvenation I needed to get through some really tough times. It was like everything had began to fall on top of me all at once but this one class was giving me fresh air.
I was never so excited to go to any class in my life, and I took some really GREAT classes while in college. Yoga helped me in 3 very large ways: I found a way to deal with my anxiety, lack of sleep and emotional repression through the use of yogic breathing techniques, and postures that made me to become in tune with my inner consciousness.
3 Yogic Techniques:
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing- Helps to sharpen the brain by providing each side of the brain equal amounts of oxygen by inhaling and exhaling through each nostril while closing the other. It brings clarity and purifies the nervous system.
2. Meditation– trains the body and mind to become more aware while also bringing clarity to higher consciousness thus achieving a true clarity.
3. 3 Part Breathing- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen when breathing in and out normally. When you fill your lungs, chest and abdomen with air all at the same time it brings a reduction to stress and anxiety.
3 Yoga Postures:
- Sleeping Pigeon
Yoga is not the cure for my epilepsy, but it helps me tremendously. It not only helps me mentally, but it also helps me physically stay in shape without over exerting myself . Due to the fact that epilepsy is a neurological issue, rejuvenating the nerves in my body daily, and releasing the negative toxins help to keep my body aligned thus keeping my mind clear and free from any extra anxiety.
I love yoga as a form of alternative medicine because it works for me. I’m not saying yoga without traditional medicine is the way to go, but I am saying that there are holistic options out here that can help when taken seriously. Having a diet that promotes healthy brain and body functioning is extremely important. Luckily, yoga incorporates all those healthy parts that are needed to make the body work as a whole. Like they say, “You are what you eat, think and do,” and that is one of the most truthful statements ever. Yoga has become one of my places of comfort. I don’t think I will ever be able to completely give it up nor do I think I will ever want to.