Compassionate Practice for your Endometriosis Journey by Divya Kohli
Ahead of her upcoming workshop Yoga & Mindfulness for Endometriosis, Divya Kohli shares a bit more about this painful, chronic condition and how her yoga practice has helped her to cope with some of the symptoms and find greater acceptance.
Women with endometriosis can suffer for years in pain and a host of other unpleasant symptoms such as extreme fatigue, headache, migraine, back pain, PMT, shooting sensations, muscular fatigue, nausea, insomnia and digestive issues. As a result of the chronic nature of the condition, it impacts a woman's broader health with feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation and impacting relationship, work and careers. It can also affect fertility.
One in 8 women in the UK experience endometriosis, and at least one in 10 women across the world.
For those unfamiliar with it, endometriosis is a chronic (long lasting) condition whereby parts of the inner lining of the uterus migrate and grow outside of the womb (typically in and around the pelvis, ovaries and fallopian tubes). These migrated pieces inflame during the menstrual cycle, or when stressed, or triggered by hormonal changes or environmental factors. A woman might have an associated condition, or both, called adenomyosis whereby parts of the inner uterine lining embed in the muscular wall of the uterus and cause as much if not more pain and discomfort as endometriosis.
Even following a diagnosis, which itself is an arduous and often long pathway, surgeries, pills and medical intervention do not promise an end to the condition (it is currently incurable) or treatment can come with unwanted side effects.
Through my own experience of the condition, suffering pain and physical and emotional debilitation and having gone through surgeries and making big lifestyle changes, I found through the biggest help came from my yoga and mindfulness practices. From this I have spent years studying and investigating how yoga and mindfulness practised in a certain way could empower me and other women to manage this pervasive condition - to not be reliant on others or external intervention. I found this is not only entirely possible but could actually contribute to real, lasting healing.
Yoga practised in a certain way, with understanding of fundamental yogic philosophy, alongside Mindfulness and its qualities of being, can collectively bring physical and emotional relief, long-term benefit and mental peace to a sufferer of endometriosis.
Having had years enduring a life with the painful condition, and knowing how difficult it is even when presented with medical options, I am really keen to offer help and inspiration to as many women with endo or adeno as possible by sharing the particular practices and principles that I have seen help not just me but students and clients I have supported over the years.
There is a programme I have developed for managing endometriosis and adenomyosis and maintaining wellbeing beyond any treatment. It encompasses specific yoga practices and routines, forms of breath work, elements of mind-body stress management & pain management techniques, mindfulness meditation and key aspects of yoga and mindfulness philosophy. The main elements of this programme will be shared at the upcoming Yoga & Mindfulness for Endometriosis workshop at The Life Centre Islington.
Until only very recently endometriosis has not been given attention, largely it has been hidden away or ignored even though so many women suffer from it. But now, through attention in the media, public and medical sphere and with MPs declaring it a higher priority for medical research and healthcare, women are given more choices and opportunity to receive help. My hope and mission is to give women with this condition holistic tools and invaluable knowledge so that they have something of their own, to use whenever they need.