Ki Hara – helping my recovery – the sequel

In November 2020 I decided to try and aid my muscle and fitness recovery following Cushing’s by doing Ki Hara; a type of yoga that I used to practise. With my instructor, Ellie, I have now completed 5 personal sessions and have videos of all of them that I can use to continue my progress. But how did I do? Read on to see how I’ve found it 3 months on.

Overall I’ve definitely seen some improvements. The main thing I wanted help with was the constant aches and pains I still get in my knees, hips and lower back. Since starting the Ki Hara I have found I’m deficient in vitamin D and am now taking supplements. From reading up on vitamin D deficiency it’s possible the hip and back pain is from that, or it could be damage from Cushing’s so it can be hard to tell sometimes what is helping. I think my lower back aches a little less though and my knees do seem to be working better. I still struggle getting up and down but if I go slowly it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to. I’ve also found my balance has vastly improved. I’m getting stronger overall as some workouts towards the end of these 3 months have made me ache less the next day than I have expected. The easiest way to judge it however is with pictures.

November vs February. You can see in November my right shoulder was held up, my left was down and forward and my left forearm was trying to compensate for this by also moving forward. In the February picture my shoulders are much more level and my arms are straighter.
In the same vein, we took pictures from the side. I put the lines on there hoping to show the difference but it doesn’t actually seem to help. However I think if you look at my back you can see I’m stood up straighter. In November’s picture I look as though I’m tipping forwards and on my tiptoes but in February the weight is back over my heels.
Huge difference in my toe touch! In November I’m a couple of inches off the ground. In February I almost have my palms on the floor!
I’m quite proud of this as well although it’s not a true comparison due to my feet being crossed in November. However you can see that in February my legs are more relaxed and my knees are closer to the ground whereas in November they were quite stiff with the knees pointing more upwards.
Now for the splits! Apparently we all have a natural leg for splits. My right is not mine. I have to say I don’t really notice much difference here, I’m a little lower in February but not much. I did feel more stable in this position though which would suggest my muscles have gotten stronger.

And here is my natural split leg. Look at the difference! I’m so much lower to the ground in the February picture. Again, I just felt stronger and more stable in this position as well.

Ellie runs a few online fitness classes, particularly around horse riding but also around general strength and flexibility and she’s happy to do personal sessions. Check out her Facebook page or her site coming soon at www.stretchstronger.co.uk. So far it has certainly not ‘fixed’ everything; I still can’t do a thing during period week as my cortisol is too low and just saps my energy but I’m certainly feeling better for it and after something like Cushing’s every little improvement feels like a huge leap forward. I’m definitely going to continue doing it and intend to have a catch up session with Ellie at some point in the next few months to again check progress and see if there are further exercises that might take me further.

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