Guest Post: Donna Owens ~ Yoga, My Bed & M.E.

Since I was away last weekend & spent the week recovering {I will write about that} I thought I'd share a guest post written by the lovely Donna Owens who owns Yoga, My Bed & M.E. I have a couple of Donna's Yoga guides & really do help my poor tired body!
Here's Donna's inspiring story...
Since I fell with M.E. in my teens way back in the 1990s, the one thing that kept me sane through the endless days of being house bound or bed-ridden was stretching to ease the pains in my legs and body, to help my body feel awake even if my mind was on another planet. I would take a pillow and hug it tight while bending forward on my bed with my legs out-stretched, it was my go to place to find relief and comfort, most times I would be awake at 3am and do this pose, tears rolling down my cheek, exhausted as I wanted sleep, cuddling my pillow tight to try and get some rest.
I didn’t know of Yoga at the time or the fact I was kind of doing a Yoga pose, I just knew stretching was a massive sigh of relief to my mind and body, I felt more open, lighter, warmer and cheerful, even if it was just a few hours. If I didn’t do any stretching for a few days my body would crave it, and I found aches and pains would feel worse, my shoulders, neck would feel rounded and my whole body felt as though it was shrivelling up and turning to stone; stretching was the antidote.
At 19, I finally found `proper` Yoga. I got a book and some videos, if I am honest I most likely wanted the body that came from yoga, M.E. was then was manageable, I was living with it rather than it controlling my life, as I was told Yoga was great for health I thought I would go for it. I thought the more I did, the healthier I would get, my ego wanted the pretzel legs and lean limbs. I wanted to feel great in my own skin for the first time, trying to catch up on missed years going out with friends. The Yoga videos and eventually DVDs (mum took a while to get with the times!) were all the 90's fitness craze!
The one problem for a M.E. sufferer - they were all power fitness workout Yoga! But I pushed through them, most days repeating to myself “it`s Yoga, it’s great for health.” You can guess what happened? Soon enough the M.E. kicked in and I was back to square one; in bed with legs out stretched cuddling my pillow with tears rolling down my cheek. I learnt I had to work the Yoga that I loved around my M.E. and not the other way around and that’s what I did on and off for next 12 years.
Then, after living a healthy 12 years out of the blue came my biggest relapse ever! It hit me just like that, no trigger, no warning, no nothing. The frustrating part was the fact I couldn’t think of anything that could have brought this on, as well this time around I was an adult, with work, a home and a daughter to look after and keep making rest and a short recovery near impossible. I took my broken body to bed and switched off from everything for a while. After lots of tears and worrying, I released all the negative emotions and started to think clearly and productively. I wrote everything down, the good, the bad and the ugly and soon pieced together a way I could make this all work. I was already a qualified Yoga therapist, I had years of M.E. experience, I always wanted to tell my story and help other people with the illness so, that’s what I did!
I set up my own business: Yoga, My Bed & M.E. to help and share my story via social media. I had no idea where it would lead, between M.E. days, posting, making friends and writing my book it all fell into place like it was all meant to be. I realised, I was meant to get this bad relapse to knock me off my feet to find my place in the world. To re-learn the illness, the dos and don`ts, the hard times to understand, and being able to modify Yoga poses so that they were easy on the body for M.E. warriors, as I spent years doing yoga on my bed. It was only right that I made all Yoga poses to be safe and which could be done on the bed, this way the body was supported, energy was saved from not having to stand or even get up for those who spent long hours in bed. Pillows and blankets could be used to support joints. After all these years, with Yoga still being popular, I was shocked that there was still hardly nothing suitable for M.E. which was attainable for the bad days as well as the good (ish) days.
So, here we are, one year later. Six Yoga guides, over 2,000 followers, a 5-star Amazon book, Yoga poster and a new YouTube channel! It’s been an amazing year, despite it being my worst year for M.E. But now I look to my illness as my business partner, guiding me and helping me to create ways to help and support others around the world and I couldn’t be more happier.
So, if you feel that there is no hope, stop, listen and believe as there are moments of magic in life!
Here's where you can find Donna on the interwebs:
Buy Donna's book on Amazon