Does your yoga practice help you deal with a physical disability or other health issue? Mine does. I have a moderate hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). It can be very frustrating and physically exhausting. When the tinnitus really flares up, it can be quite debilitating, making it hard to think, and my balance can suffer. It can sometimes lead to feelings of vertigo or extreme dizziness.
But through it all, I turn to my Bikram yoga practice for routine, for solace and for strength. I recommend yoga and meditation to all my friends with hearing loss as a way to deal with the frustration, but also to give the body and mind the strength it needs to survive and thrive despite the challenges we face every day. I think this is the case for many people battling physical ailments and infirmities.
One of the things I like best about Bikram yoga is that it is accessible to people of all physical abilities. I have been in classes with people who suffer from Lyme disease and Parkinson’s, people who are recovering from cancer, people who are recuperating from serious knee or back injuries, and folks who are dealing with more invisible ailments such as depression or mental illness. In all cases, the yoga practice seems to provide a physical release along with a jolt of mental strength to tackle whatever challenges they have to face that particular day. For me, I know it helps me to blow off the steam of frustration, teaches me to persevere in the face of discomfort, and to find stillness and calm when things get tough.
My hearing loss was not something I talked about (or wrote about) for many years. I tried to hide it and ignore it, but in the past year, I have “come out of my hearing loss closet” and have become a hearing health advocate. I even write a second blog called Living With Hearing Loss, where I discuss the challenges and issues related to hearing loss and tinnitus. My goal for the blog was to share my story in hopes of helping others to live more peacefully with their own hearing loss and tinnitus. In the past year, the blog has received more than 22,000 visits by people living in almost 130 countries. It is a remarkable support network for me, and I hope for them. I believe my Bikram yoga practice is in part responsible for giving me the personal strength and resilience to acknowledge my disability and to become comfortable in the face of this discomfort. I am very grateful for that.
Recently, I found out that I had been chosen as a finalist in the 2015 Oticon Focus on People Awards in the Advocacy category. The Oticon Focus on People Awards recognize outstanding people with hearing loss who are helping to show that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a positive difference in the world. Since 1997, this national awards competition has honored more than 235 outstanding people with hearing loss. If you would like to endorse me in this contest, please click here to cast your VOTE for Shari Eberts in the Advocacy category. Many thanks for your support and a big thank you to everyone in the hot room for your strength and energy every day.
Readers, does your yoga practice help you cope with a physical or mental challenge?