I was 21 when I was first diagnosed with endometriosis. I had laparoscopic surgery, which helped me for a while. But then as warned, the symptoms came back, but this time they were much worse.
At age 25 I was thinking about having kids, and after trying to conceive for a year my husband and I were becoming disheartened. My doctors identified me as ‘almost infertile’. Basically, my specialist told me I couldn’t leave it any longer.
My left fallopian tube and ovary were covered in scars, which meant the egg follicle had to develop in the right ovary for me to even have a chance of getting pregnant. The clinical road seemed to be our only option. I had another surgery, and then started assisted reproductive technology (ART).
After several failed attempts and numerous hormones injections later, we finally got a positive result and fell pregnant. I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy girl who is soon to turn 5!
1.1 atha yoga anushasanam – And now yoga
When my daughter was one I was introduced to yoga. I started a daily practice of Hatha Yoga almost immediately. My mind was clearer and I had a place to heal. My body was being treated as it should be. I was healthier and I was happier. Before long I got a lovely surprise – pregnancy number 2!
I went from thinking I would never have kids, to having two beautiful humans that I love and adore.
Matrescence for me was lived through yoga. This was a polar opposite to my first pregnancy. (On that note, if you are experiencing any challenges in your perinatal period, PANDA is a great counselling resource).
Bringing this back to endo. I use my experience of labour to help me through THE PAIN of endometriosis. Here are my tips on how to get through a flare up.
1. NO HEAT
Yes, I may contradict most other advice, but see if it works for you. My acupuncturist gave me this valuable advice. He said that endo pain is caused by hot, wet heat. We want to draw the heat away, not increase it. Use COLD packs from the fridge (but not ice). Endo blogger Aubree Deimler agrees with this perspective, saying that endometrial scar tissue acts similarly to fascia. Although heat can soften and relieve the adhesions that are causing pain, they will re-harden after the application of heat, worsening the pain.
From a yogic perspective we wouldn’t do a heated yang practice when in pain. We want the cooling yin.
2. SELF COMPASSION
If you have a strong yoga practice and exercise regime, it’s ok to slow down. Give yourself some time for love. Watch TV, read a book, sit outside, eat your favourite food. Whatever it is. Do it and do it without judgement. Your body needs a strong mind.
If rest is not available, seek help. It’s ok to ask for help. Recently I have stopped trying to look after my kids when the pain is bad. I have family help out or I use childcare. I am not physically capable of allowing a 2 year old to jump on me while I lie on the couch in the fetal position. I’ve lost the guilt. I don’t have to be ok all the time and it’s really no benefit to my kids to have a mum who is not only unwell, but also riddled in guilt or frustration.
3. ACTIVE BIRTH
I don’t know about you, but I physically cannot get onto my mat when I’m living a flare up. Nothing is soft enough, the floor is so far away and then I have to think about getting up again. No position feels good. I can’t even do a nice yin practice because it feels like I’m in labour. So I practice active birth yoga. Rocking my hips, using the wall to stretch out my shoulders, sometimes I squat down and hold onto my bed to just have a little movement through my hips. But if there’s one difference it’s that I don’t do any hip opening, only internal hip rotation. It’s sort of like when you stub your toe and then put pressure on it to cease the pain. Internal hip rotations provide the pressure I need against my pelvic region. External hip stretches make me vulnerable to more discomfort, and on an energetic level I need to protect and shield the area of pain.
4. YOGA NIDRA.
Not much to explain here. Rest, rest, rest. But also, look for a great Yoga Nidra track that resonates with you before your red tent time. You want something accessible and you really don’t want to be lying down ready to listen, only to find the track is terrible, and makes you turn away from such a beneficial practice.
5. STAY CONNECTED
My last tip is to stay connected with your breath and body. There are opportunities for growth through adversity. Maintain the connection to yourself even when you want to escape the pain, because the resilience built is worth it. Here is a link on igniting tapas that I feel is very beneficial to the cause: https://www.awakeningself.com/writing/igniting-tapas-discipline/
Lana Krpic is a 350 hour RYT and has completed Prenatal and Postnatal, Fertility and IVF and ART yoga teacher training with Bliss Baby Yoga. Through her own lived experience, Lana now has a deep passion to support women with the physical, emotional and mental health challenges that life brings. As well as yoga asana, Lana is very passionate about sound healing through mantra. She currently teaches the Divine Feminine Workshops at Yoga101 in Melbourne. Lana is a mother of two young wildings, is a perinatal mental health worker and also teaches Mums and Bubs Yoga. Connect with Lana on Instagram: @mothersdharma
Are you passionate about teaching yoga to support reproductive health and all phases of the menstrual cycle? Would you like to increase your skills and knowledge in this important niché area of yoga? Menstrual Medicine: Yoga for Menstrual Disorders is a topic covered in our Bliss Baby Yoga Online Level 2 Yoga for Fertility Teacher Training course, as well as Ana Davis’s book Moving with the Moon.
Further Reading related to this topic: