The Face of Courage

by Christina Rowsell
The Brighter Side

My brother was a radical skier.  He was wild and courageous to tackle what the mountains threw at him.  I was always in awe of his spirit for skiing and the great outdoors.  When we were younger I credit him for the enthusiasm I had for skiing.  Mind you, he would just leave me at the top of the triple black diamond run and let me “fight” my way down.  I certainly learned how to ski in a hurry!!  There was no other way down!

Today, my brother doesn’t go close to the ski hill.  I asked him if he wanted to try it again.  He said no.  He was too afraid that he’d try to ski like he used to.  He has MS.  It’s been very sad watching his life turn around this way.  And at such a young age.  Today he’s in his early forties.  But, where would he be today if he didn’t have MS?  Who would his friends be?  I’ve seen him lose some friends who didn’t really know how to cope with this disease.  Sad thing is, he’s still the same guy on the inside.  He still loves to cook.  He loves good tasting Organic foods.  But now life is different.  

I was pleased to know that though the MS Society they help cover the costs of his new found love of yoga.  If you need just one reason to participate in the Walk for MS in your community, it’s for someone like my brother to be able to attend these yoga classes.  The Walkfor MS connects people living with MS and those who care about them. When you participate in this community event, the funds you raise give hope to the more than 2.1 million people living with MS worldwide. Register now, connect with others, and start fundraising today! Search for a Walk near you!  

My brother lives in Castlegar, and if you know anyone in the Trail/Nelson area who is looking to participate, know that the money you raise will support programs for people like him. Visit http://mswalks.ca/ to find a Walk in your area.  The walk in Trail is April 28th, Nelson is May 26th, and the one in Calgary is June 2nd. 
He’s still that same guy on in the inside and with your support you can help him and others with MS live a better life on the outside.  

FYI – Information on Yoga and MS

Researchers recruited 69 people with MS and randomly assigned them to either: a weekly Iyengar yoga class (a form of Hatha yoga, which is the most common type of yoga practiced in the US) with home practice, a weekly exercise class using a stationary bike and home exercise or a group on a waiting list for one of the two classes. These people were followed for 6 months and measures of disability, anxiety, fatigue and cognitive function were taken at the beginning of the study and after 6 months in the study. The researchers found that yoga did not influence cognitive function or mood, but it did lessen fatigue and increase energy level. The study was not designed to investigate whether yoga can help the course of MS.
This is an important finding because fatigue is one of the most difficult and hidden symptoms of MS. Yoga can be done at home with minimal investment. Personally, I recommend that beginners take a yoga classes for a month or two to learn the proper technique, as it is initially hard to understand exactly what the pose should be like. An instructor can help make small adjustments in your poses or suggestions that can make a huge difference. After that, you can continue with the class or begin a home practice using a video or audio recording.

Interestingly, the yoga in this study was developed by Eric Small, who was diagnosed with MS at age 22. Eric became a serious student of yoga after his diagnosis and credits yoga with keeping him in good health despite having MS. His website, YogaMS contains articles with details about the particulars of his approach to MS management using yoga, as well as a video for home practice.

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Image credit: yellowj / 123RF Stock Photo

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