I’ve been meaning to write about Kayla for some time. We connected a few months back but it’s taken me some time to sit down and do her justice! Kayla has lived with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/ME since she was 12 years old.
Initially she experienced the ‘it’s all in your head’ proclamations but with persistence was eventually diagnosed with CFS/ME. During that time and for some time after she really struggled to find an exercise that she could manage. It wasn’t until she bought a yoga dvd that she found something she could do that made her feel better. Kayla has since found combining yoga, dietary and lifestyle changes to be the recipe for success for her to live well with her chronic illness.
Passionate about yoga
She has subsequently turned her passion for yoga into a business where she provides online yoga and meditation classes for people with chronic illness.
Kayla currently runs a 6 week online course which is available for anyone living with a chronic illness whether they have done yoga before or not. She offers them online in order to make them available to the most amount of people. The intention of what she provides is to help people understand how yoga and meditation and living mindfully can help reduce pain, fatigue, and insomnia while regulating the stress response.
Many of Kayla’s students have said they now know what to do when they feel a pain or fatigue attack coming on, and are better able to sleep, handle stress, and breathe deeply.Yoga helps with pain, sleep, stress and the breath Click To Tweet
In addition to running her online courses, she also runs various workshops on a monthly basis for people living with chronic illness in Toronto, the UK, and Barcelona! These shorter workshops target something in particular such as sleep or pain.
Managing health and work
Diet wise, Kayla is gluten free and dairy free. She tries to limit any processed foods that she eats and limits meat as well (though the meat is more for personal than for health reasons). She also practices mindfulness every day by meditating and in her interactions as well.
A big part of the reason Kayla works for herself and runs her own business is so that she can set her own hours and have the flexibility she needs (noting though, as many entrepreneurs know, starting your own business can often be more work than a 9-5 job!). She finds that doing work she loves and is passionate about gives her more energy to do it. Often, she doesn’t start work until 10 or 11, she takes the breaks she needs during the day and she finishes early if she needs to. Kayla also uses yoga and meditation to manage her energy levels during work time. Working from home also enables her to get quite a lot done. That said, she always knows that her health needs come first, and that her work isn’t going to be as good if she’s working when tired or when brain fog kicks in.Doing work you love gives you more energy for it Click To Tweet
Practising listening and empathy
I asked Kayla what is important to understand or be aware of when working with those who have a chronic illness. She said that each person is different, and a chronic illness may manifest differently in each body. Listening to her students is so important. So many health professionals prescribe what they think is best, rather than listening to the people who are actually living with the pain in their bodies. Just as it’s important for Kayla to listen to her students, it’s so important for her students to listen to and learn from their bodies.
Another important thing that Kayla practices is radical empathy or kindness. Many people with chronic illness aren’t able to get the help they need from the healthcare system or from their friends and family. They are also often hard on themselves, wishing that they could just ‘get well’ or that they had never gotten ill, to begin with. While these are normal reactions to being ill, it can still create a space of negativity around the illness. Being kind to people, and helping them be kind to themselves and their bodies is a big part of what Kayla does.Practising radical empathy and kindness helps the body Click To Tweet
Kayla is extremely passionate about yoga and would like to be able to spread the benefits of yoga to more people! She hopes to expand her online course offering and continue to run workshops and retreats.
For more information on this inspiring lady and the course she runs, please check out her website and social media channels here:
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