Few can argue that yoga offers a vast array of health benefits, and is especially helpful for easing tension and helping one feel more centered on all levels –physically, mentally, and spiritually. After getting a Lyme disease diagnosis, I was in dire need of such benefits, but often found that even “beginners” yoga videos or classes were too advanced for me. However, since I so badly wanted to feel calm and connected with my body again, I would push through only to end up injuring myself. So, for a long time, I gave up on yoga.
Then, during a particularly dark time when I was feeling entirely disconnected from myself on all levels, I decided to give yoga one last shot. So, I scrolled through countless yoga videos on YouTube until I came across one that looked doable for me, even in my bed ridden state. It was a bed yoga video by Candace Moore, founder of YBC. In under 15 minutes, her video literally transformed me from a scattered mess to a calmer, saner version of myself, and I slept peacefully that night for the first time in months. After that, I began trying some of her other videos, and before I knew it, I had graduated from bed yoga and was back on the mat again thanks to Candace. I remember thinking, “It’s as if she knows what it’s like to have chronic Lyme disease and spend long durations in bed, since she offers beginners yoga videos that actually help instead of injure me.”
But I didn’t actually think she understood what it was like to have a serious illness though, considering she looked healthy and had other advanced yoga videos where she demonstrated poses that require one to be incredibly fit.
However, after purchasing Candace’s book Namaslay, I learned I was very wrong. It turns out Candace not only knew what it was like to have a debilitating illness, but she knew what it was like to have Lyme disease, as she herself had such a severe Lyme disease symptoms that her brain and body were seriously affected. At one point, she was unable to even dress herself due to excruciating pain, and she couldn’t even comprehend what people were saying because their words sounded garbled together in her head. Nonetheless, she fully recovered to a state where she feels even healthier than she did before Lyme disease, and now runs a successful business and is the founder of the wildly popular blog and website YBC. She’s also is an international yoga instructor, and author who travels all over the world.
Personally, I do not know many “healthy” people with that kind of stamina, much less ones who have endured living with Lyme disease. To me, this makes her story of recovery especially inspiring, which is why I was so excited when she agreed to the following interview:
Yoga for Lyme Disease Recovery and Beyond
Shelley M. White (SW): Thank you for agreeing to speak with me. You are beyond inspiring, and I know readers will feel the same. To start with, can you briefly describe your Lyme journey for us?
Candace Moore (CM): Sure. In August of 2010, my health slowly began declining to the point that I was unable to walk. I visited about 9 doctors and finally got a diagnosis of Lyme disease. I started heavy duty antibiotics for about a year and a half, and finally got off of them when my body seemed like it was shutting down. From there, I spent about a few months suffering from digestive issues and other health issues (joint pain, acne, etc), likely caused from the antibiotics. Then, I discovered the GAPS diet, and spent two years on that to heal my gut from the antibiotics. I am now 100% better. I like to say I’m 110% better because I honestly feel healthier now than I felt before I got Lyme disease.
SW: What do you consider to be the key components that led to your full recovery from Lyme disease symptoms?
CM: The biggest thing for me was gut healing. I think if my gut had been in a healthier state to begin with, my body wouldn’t have reacted the way it did when I contracted Lyme.
SW: If you had to pick just one thing that was crucial to your healing, what would it be?
CM: The GAPS diet.
SW: ProHealth is all about employing natural methods as part of the the healing process. What herbs, supplements, and natural remedies helped during Lyme disease treatment or continue to help improve your health?
CM: I used an infrared sauna a lot during my healing. The GAPS diet was crucial to healing and included learning how to ferment my own veggies, how to make my own yogurt and kefir, and how to make and cook with bone broths. Managing stress was also a big factor. Sleeping enough. Staying hydrated. I didn’t really do any supplements aside from a strong probiotic. While healing my gut, I dabbled in a few supplements including GABA, glucosamine, adaptogenic herbs, etc. Anyone looking for guidance should consult a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who has experience with Lyme, like Carley from Fairy Gut Mother.
SW: Now, on to yoga for Lyme disease. Your yoga videos are amazing, and you can do some incredibly advanced poses that most with Lyme cannot even begin to dream of doing. Clearly, you are very strong and healthy. So, how do you prevent relapses and maintain such vibrant health? Is there anything special you do or any tips you’d like to share?
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CM: I think there are so many components to staying healthy, and it’s different for everyone. For me, having a diet filled with real, wholesome foods loaded with lots of micronutrients from solid sources I can trust is vital. Getting quality sleep. Managing stress. Laughing often. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude. Getting some form of exercise every day. Hydrating. All these things really work together to create that vibrant sense of health that’s right for my body.
SW: When were you first drawn to yoga? Did you practice it while recovering from Lyme?
CM: My mom dragged me to a yoga class when I was fifteen. I pretended to hate it because I was a bratty teenager, but secretly I loved it. I began practicing more seriously when I started my career as a school teacher, but eventually backed off completely when I was dealing with Lyme disease. With Lyme, I didn’t have the strength or concentration to do any yoga aside from yoga nidra, which is a deep, guided meditation that is great for pain management.
SW: I know many, myself included, have attempted yoga with Lyme, only to push our bodies and injure ourselves or take a step back in the healing process. Any tips on avoiding that?
CM: Ha! My tip is to not practice and just try to be cool with that. Or, practice something like yoga nidra, where you literally do nothing but lay there and listen to the meditation. If your body is at a point where it can’t handle the physical stress of a flow class, you probably just need to honor that and, most importantly, let that be okay. Sometimes, we get so focused on what we can’t do, that it winds up causing more stress and doing more harm than if we just say, “Ok. I can’t do that right now. But that’s ok. Instead, I’ll watch a funny movie, or listen to an entertaining podcast. Eventually, I’ll get back to my yoga practice once I’m healthier.”
SW: At one point, you were so severely affected by Lyme, both physically and neurologically, that you were unable to even walk or comprehend what people were saying to you. When your body and brain were ravaged by Lyme, did you ever think you would come this far and be able to do things like write a book or travel the world?
CM: For the most part, no. I was so focused on my suffering and pain that I didn’t think I’d ever get better. I was really in this victim mentality. I had a bad case of the “poor me.” The thing is, in hindsight, Lyme disease was the best thing to ever happen to me because it was the catalyst for living my best life. In the depths of the depression that came with the Lyme disease, I wanted to give up, but there was a tiny voice inside of me that said, “No. Just dream. What would you do — no, what will you do when you are better? Write it down.” So, I got out my journal, and I wrote down my dreams. Today, I live my dreams. It really is that simple if you can shift your perspective and get out of the victim mentality.
Follow Candance at:
YouTube: Yoga By Candace
This article was first published on ProHealth.com on May 17, 2017 and was updated on January 25, 2020
Shelley M. White is trained in herbalism and nutrition, and is the author of ‘Cannabis for Lyme Disease and Related Conditions: Scientific Basis and Anecdotal Evidence for Medicinal Use’. She has writes, or has written, articles for various publications, including Collective Evolution, The Mighty, SKUNK Magazine, Mind Body Green, Natural News, The Mind Unleashed, The Townsend Letter, Public Health Alert and the Examiner.