How Yoga Helped Me Manage My CF

Although it took me a while to gravitate toward yoga, I have found that it really helps me manage my mental and physical health. In honor of International Yoga Day on June 21, I share the benefits of practicing yoga and demonstrate my favorite upper body stretches.

| 3 min read
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Aimee Lecointre
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It's been more than 10 years since I first found yoga. Unlike so many others, I can't say I was hooked on yoga right from the start. In the beginning, I found it too mentally challenging. Too slow. Too much time to think. Too difficult to follow the instructor's breathing cues. What I didn't realize at the time is that yoga was exactly what I needed, so I'm thankful that it kept finding its way back into my life.

Over the years, yoga has helped me to better manage my struggles with depressionanxiety, attention deficit disorder, and my health with cystic fibrosis. I have found the pranayama part of yoga (breathing exercises) to be incredibly helpful in slowing down -- and deepening -- my breath. It's helped me get back to the “belly breathing” I remember learning as a kid in CF clinic.

The asana, or physical practice, of yoga has helped me to gain strength and flexibility and challenges me in ways that I welcome. Yoga is called a practice for a reason; ultimately there is no end goal. As long as we practice, we can continue to grow and deepen our stretches and postures and watch them evolve over time. The combination of the pranayama and asana together has helped me to learn to appreciate and live in the moment and slow down my often racing thoughts.

The great thing about yoga is it's easily accessible to anyone and everyone at any time, no matter their physical capabilities. There is no special equipment required (i.e., yoga mats and fancy leggings are optional). All you need is an open mind, willingness, and clothes that allow you to move.

Want more yoga videos? You can watch “Yoga for CF” online, which was created by Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va. To get the “Yoga for CF” DVD, email resources@cff.org with the title of the DVD, the quantity, and your contact information (name, phone number, and mailing address including building/room number).

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Fitness | Emotional Wellness
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Aimee is a nutritional therapy practitioner and registered yoga teacher. She was diagnosed with CF 32 years ago when she was 2 weeks old. In addition to CF, she has endometriosis and has had two surgeries for scoliosis that involved spinal fusion and the placement of metal rods. Despite her many health challenges, she continues to live life to the fullest and look for the positive in every moment. Aimee has a continued passion to help others live a life that supports better overall health, especially those within the CF community. She resides in Salt Lake City with her husband, two pugs, and a cat. You can find more about what she's up to at www.thenourishedbreath.com and on Instagram @thenourishedbreath.

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