By Johannus M. Steger, 2017
It’s a ridiculous question. Some of you will say yes, and others will look at me and picture kale sprouting from my ears and ask what is the world is wrong with me. And that’s totally okay. I have done the same thing to others, but I have also seen others who have gone from where I am now, to where I want to be… All because of yoga. So, can yoga change my life? Let’s start with the what’s wrong with my life, part of it… Shall we?
In 2009, I was diagnosed with Sciatica and a hairline fracture on my lower lumbar (lower back). In 2014, I was diagnosed with bone spurs, (little monsters that grow out of your bones and cause you a TON of pain.) In 2015, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disorder, (That’s where the squishy bit between each link of your spine starts to go away.) and I was diagnosed with a bone growth that wrapped around the artery on the back of my skull. (It restricts the blood flow and gives me some serious migraines.) I was told by a doctor back in ’09 that I would likely be in a wheelchair within five to ten years. Well, it’s been eight of those years, and the clock is ticking.
I have had my ups and downs over the past eight years and for most of it I was fine, fit as a fiddle. Until I broke my ribcage and gained like sixty pounds. Yikes, right? I know. I lost the weight, within six months after I was cleared to start exercise and being at full mobility again, I was in the gym, and taking the 12 flights of stairs up and down to my classes, and I lost fifty pounds. Then while I was working at a medical facility after school’s end, I was walking 45 minutes a day, and still exercising, I dropped that extra ten pounds like no one’s business. Until I was fired for not having, “The right type of personality.” Let’s just say they had a problem with the person I chose to say, “I love you,” to every night. I live in Texas, this happens to be a problem from time to time. Anyway, before I get you on a tangent, I was unemployed, emotionally depressed and I started writing again to cope with the anger.
It worked, for a time, I didn’t stop writing, I’ve always been a writer, but I did start gaining weight. So, to tack onto my back issues, I also suffer from clinical depression and anxiety, so these bad boys were ready at all cost to rear their ugly heads. And they did, oh boy did they. I gained back thirty of those pounds I’d lost. But the worst of it was that same month I felt a progression of my spine issues, so zoom, back to the doctor I went. It was bad, it was progressing quickly and it has now come to a point where I can walk on my own for maybe twenty minutes a day.
I am stationary, 85% of my day. My partner helps me with a lot of house hold things and I work from home part-time.
So, now we’re back to Yoga. Why yoga? Honestly, I’m doing more than just yoga but I do have some real reasons for you.
Yoga is “one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind.” (osteopathic.org) So, I have stress like anyone else, so of course, I am all about less stress. Not to mention, Dr. Nevins, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California, says, “Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate… …Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.” (Check out the osteopathic.org website for more information.)
So, here is day one. I am sitting here drenched in sweat, and a little achy. I did ten minutes of Yoga for weight loss, and five minutes of H.I.I.T. Cardio. All during my ability to use my body. Of course, unlike healthy, able-bodied people, I was shaking and hurting by the last minute. But, now I feel enriched, mentally, and parts of my spine popped back into place while I was at it.
Will this save my life? Right now, I have no idea. I just plan to find out. I am going to keep track every day and note my changes, I will even keep track of my weight, every day activity and ability, and pain levels.
As of day one, right now, I am roughly (not for sure) 240 pounds. My goal weight for my height is 180. I am doing this for my health and for me, not for beauty magazines, society expectation, or anyone else’s idea of how my body should be. This is about my spine, my ability to move on my own, everything. I cannot afford healthcare insurance, and that means I can’t afford rehabilitation with professionals. All I have is the bit of information that has been given to me, the small amount to get me through from day one to day thirty.
There isn’t a lot I need to do with my diet, I started the nutritional changes years ago but I will share any and all advice on that front if I can.
Today I had a cup of coffee, 1 scoop of sugar (working on cutting sugar completely), and 1 ounce of creamer, (working on cutting to ½ an oz.) I had a plate of chicken and broccoli, stir fried, and a purple sweet potato with a half teaspoon of butter, (unsalted.) And I drink water like a faucet left on. Otherwise I have had some candy (can’t lie, I instagrammed proof!), and a V8 Energy drink, (pineapple-orange).
Let me name some things I am hoping to see change: #Goals
- See an increase in my productivity and creativity.
- Lose at least 15 pounds.
- Decrease my pain and increase my ability to walk on my own.
- Be able to pull off some of these Yoga moves properly!
- Increase my overall heart health.
- Improve my day-to-day mood.
- Improve my digestive system, and help with any stomach pains I get.
- See an improvement in my sleeping.
- Create a habit and make exercise a part of my daily routine.
- See a happier man when I look in the mirror.
Whether or not I see these goals, I will keep track of as I blog about this. I’m ready to see if Yoga can save my life, if you want to follow my journey, please feel free to follow me on here and check out my personal blog as well.
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