Social Media Brings People Together ...

Social Media Brings People Together and the Collaboration to Follow is Amazing!

Hi, my name is Lori! I am Yoga for Scleroderma's first practitioner that actually has Scleroderma!

I started yoga in 2010. I had just been sidelined from work and knew I needed to start focusing on some other things in life. Like taking care of my body - as a job. At the time of my first class, I was unable to put socks on by myself without an assistive device or my husband's help. My flexibility was all but non-existant. It's not superb now, but it's improved.

Thanks to yoga. Yoga helped me so much more than physically. The increased movement was what opened the door for me. Then, the community of people that I started finding myself around was so welcoming and people wanted to understand my condition and wanted to be able to help me lead an easier life.

Through the yoga studio, I was turned onto massage therapy. My therapist is also a yoga instructor. Before long, in addition to massage, we were also doing one on one yoga sessions. She was able to help me to learn how to modify postures even more so that I was reaping the benefits, even if i didn't look like a Yoga Journal model. The additional ideas were confidence builders and helped me realize even more that yoga was going to be a part of my life forever.

For me, this all become a transformative period in life. I found my attitude towards life and people changing. As my body was feeling better I was just better. I decided to dive deeper and took yoga teacher training. I wasn't sure I could do it. I mean, MY yoga looked absolutely nothing like anyone else's yoga. I didn't do it with the intent of actually teaching yoga, either. It was more for myself. So I could learn to help my body more. Here's the thing though, yoga is personal. Yoga is different for everyone.

During the yoga teacher training, my life continued to transformed in ways I never imagined.

There's an anatomy portion to learning to teach yoga. I learned so much about the physical body and could apply what I was learning to get a better picture of how my body was being affected by Scleroderma. I learned more postures that could benefit me in the future.

There are portions that teach us about our breathing and how it affects our health. There are teachings on how to feed and nourish our bodies properly. Teachings on feeding and nourishing our minds and how we talk to ourselves and others. All of which have impacts on our health.

Yoga and all it can offer beyond the physical asanas, has been an integral part of my life since.

Fast forward to the summer of 2017. Through some interesting conversation in social media groups, I found myself planning to partner with Kathy. Social media conversations lead to a phone call while I was riding a train from Tampa, FL to Charleston, SC. That one hour phone call started the ball rolling. By the time we hung up the phone, I was purchasing plane tickets and reserving a hotel room in Reno, Nevada so that I could attend trainings, share my knowledge and experience with Kathy and help record new video content.

While in Reno, I met a woman with Scleroderma who does yogic hand exercises that Kathy taught her, yogic breathing practices, as well as attends Kathy's weekly class. This woman started all of these practices just after being diagnosed with Scleroderma. When she started, she was doing yoga in a chair. Now she is:

  • doing a full class on the floor like "able bodied" folks
  • reversed the initial hand curling
  • improved her lung function

Read those bullets again and let that sink in. Additional proof that yoga can help this (and other) disease!

Now I KNOW we have to get this information out to the masses. It's time to get this passion of mine set into motion! Since yoga has been such a help to my body, I've wanted to be able to give that gift back to the community, but didn't know how. It's not like there are large numbers of Scleroderma patients close by.

Since starting this journey with Kathy, we have presented and taught at the Scleroderma Foundation's Scleroderma National Conference in Phoenix in July and at a Yoga for the Special Child Summer Conference here in Sarasota at the beginning of August.

I've since become an ambassador for the grass roots organization, Accessible Yoga which works to provide yoga to people with all sorts of limitations - be it from diseases or trauma - as yoga really DOES change our bodies and help with disease maintenance. I'm heading to an AY conference in San Francisco in October and will be presenting on our efforts with Yoga for Scleroderma and learning from others while there.

We've been asked to present in Philly in July of 2018 for the Scleroderma Foundation's National Conference again, as well as various rumblings with "invites" to Canada, and other U.S. locations that want to learn from us, so that they might be better able to help their communities.