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In August 2012 my life changed following an accident when a motorist collided with me on my bicycle.  I was hurled into the air and landed on my neck. Badly bruised,  I had severe whiplash, making it agony for me to turn my neck, l had great difficulty in walking and unable to lift anything. Pain was surging through my back and down my legs. Many a sleepless night followed. Physiotherapy started immediately to get me back on my feet.

8 months went by and my condition was not getting better.  In fact in my opinion getting worse. After an MRI scan came back clear of injury, I was transferred to the Pain Management Clinic and diagnosed with Neuropathic Chronic Pain (NCP).  NCP means you have a hypersensitive nervous system, which is sending constant pain signals when there is nothing ‘wrong’ with your body.

It has been 3 years since the accident and the pain I experience is now head to toe, everyday. I can get flare-ups at any moment, which can make me bed bound for days. Standing, sitting or walking for too long can be problematic and cause flare-ups.

Proactive in my recovery, l tried every professional recommendation and those of friends and family. Anything was worth a try. I needed to run again. I needed to socialise again. I needed to work and do something purposeful again with my life. Nothing worked; in fact, made me worse. Depression and anxiety was beginning to take over my life, l was so frustrated at my limitations, what was to become of me? Exercise has always been my armour to mental health issues. For me, if you have a healthy mind you can handle other aspects of your life more positively.

Then someone suggested Bikram Yoga to me and what made me intrigued about Bikram Yoga was the fact it was done in a heated room. Heat has always been my source of relief for my pain. I take several heated baths a day and at bedtime my hot water bottle is my companion.  Bikram Yoga is now my Willy Wonka golden ticket, my holy grail. For 90 minutes l don’t think of my pain, for 90 minutes l marvel at what my body can do, for 90 minutes l am cooperating mindfulness into my daily routine, for 90 minutes l am exercising, for 90 minutes l am working towards losing all the weight l have gained since the accident, for 90 minutes l am happy.

Bikram yoga has not taken away my pain but it heals my mind, trains me in mindfulness to a level l would not have been able to obtain on my own. What l learn in class l am able to bring into different aspects of my life, outside of class. I have become stronger and more able to accept my pain. When negative thoughts come into my mind about my body’s limitations, l remember what l am able to do at Bikram Yoga. It is my source of positive energy.

If you have similar symptoms to me, or know someone that does, where you know you/they don’t have an “injury” and you/they respond to heat, suffer from depression and anxiety, l urge you to reap the benefits from Bikram Yoga. Please always consult with the professionals whose care you are under, just to be safe.

The friendly staff at Southside Bikram are very approachable and supportive and can answer any questions or queries you have.  My journey with Neuropathic Chronic Pain has become more bearable and manageable, thanks to Bikram Yoga.