5 Needs I Have Due to Lyme Disease That I Tell My Yoga Teacher About

I am still working on healing and have some special needs since Lyme disease. It’s funny how you make accommodations in your own life for when you are sick and in recovery, and over time you normalize things and forget that’s not the way everyone else does it. Then you get in a class or conference and you get a sharp reminder.

OK, I need to get over myself. It is prudent to share my needs and limits with my teachers. But just what they need to know – not my entire medical history. When I go to a meditation class I don’t need to share as much as when I go to a yoga training. After I share I try to forget about it and dig into learning.


Honoring My Needs Since Lyme Optimizes My Learning Opportunities

Before Lyme disease, I was a yoga teacher full-time who had a strong practice and sat on the floor every day. After Lyme is a different story. It is clear to me I am not yet fully recovered or mobile when I get with a bunch of yoga teachers or students. It a distinct reality check, but I need to remember to celebrate that I am able to engage with learning in person. I can drive to class and participate and enjoy.

I realize it is just honest for me to share the reason for some of my behaviors and how they help me learn. I try to stay away from oversharing; TMI can be a pain. But I want be sure my needs will not be disruptive to the teacher or the group as a whole.

When I started venturing out I brought my own chair so I knew I would be comfortable. I would only go to day training so I could manage my care.

Now I have done a couple of week-long trainings. I bring all the normal stuff plus extra pillows, medicines, a seat cushion and a back belt. That is all I need. Most times I can work with facility chairs and stay in any normal room. My yoga mat is set up by the wall for extra support. I always check in with the teacher before I sign up for the training and on the first day.

Five Needs I Have Since Lyme Disease That I Tell My Yoga Teacher

1. No high-risk tick habitats for me. No wading through meadows, sitting on grass, hugging trees or outdoor yoga.

2. I don’t sit on the floor. It is pretty standard in a yoga training to sit on a mat on the floor, so I still bring a tube chair to those. I explain that my low back stability does not tolerate sitting on the floor or ground. I get up and move around to keep comfortable. Once an hour I walk around so I don’t stiffen up.

3. I am less heat and cold tolerant than the average person. So I bring chill pal scarves and personal fans in the summer and extra layers and indoor use only slippers in the winter.

4. Plenty of sleep is a non-negotiable. I have a cut-off time of 9:30 p.m. most nights to be sure I wind down and get the sleep I need. Sometimes these trainings run from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. I cut out to hit the sack by 10:00 p.m.

5. My yoga practice is gentle. Generally I have to modify public classes that are part of teacher training. I protect myself and say I don’t want any assistance to deepen my expression of the pose.

For the most part, once I talk with my teacher, there is no problem. People in my community are wonderful and generous. The most important thing for me is to understand what I need to do to protect myself and keep healing. Bring what I need – cushion or slippers – so I can continue to learn, grow and expand my world.

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Thinkstock photo via Ridofranz.

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