My name is Syed Abbas. In my late 20’s, I was diagnosed with a muscle wasting disease called LGMD (Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy). Within a few years, my muscles became very weak and I began to fall while walking and sometimes even standing. I also started getting recurring bouts of very painful hip-bursitis which would result in becoming bed ridden for weeks at a time- unable to move, get up or even sleep at night. The painkillers wouldn’t work and I would invariably resort to powerful steroid based injections until after some time even they stopped working. I also developed skin disorders as well as chronic constipation. On top of that I lost my job and we started facing financial issues that brought in even more stress in my life. Needless to say, a combination of all this took a huge tool on my mental health and I developed anxiety and became depressed. I had so many negative thoughts, anger, future worries, past regrets, and self pity in my head. It was driving me insane. At the same time, the list of medications kept piling up and at one point I was taking prescription medications to deal with pain, skin disorders, chronic constipation, anxiety & depression. During all these years of my interactions with several doctors, NOT a single one asked about my diet, lifestyle or what I could do to handle my negative and self inflicting thought patterns. After seven years of being on medications and seeing no improvement, I had completely lost all hope. In my desperation, I asked for divine help.
The divine intervention came through a loving and caring friend who used to have anxiety issues and lot of stress in her life. Instead of taking medications, she decided to use a holistic approach and has been practicing a powerful breathing exercise called “SKY” (Sudharshan Kriya Yoga) – Taught by Art of Living Foundation. Beaming with joy and happiness, she shared how the SKY breathing exercise has immensely helped her deal with stress and anxiety that had build up in her life over the years. At this time, I was desperate to try anything, I did a quick research and found that millions of people around the world had benefited from practicing SKY breathing exercise. The first time I practiced SKY with the teacher, it just blew me away. The burst of energy that I felt cannot be explained in words. Soon after I added a daily meditation practice also. A combination of these allowed me to think more clearly and for the first time in years I decided to take charge of my own health by enrolling in a year long holistic nutritional certification program that focused on feeding the body the correct foods it is designed to thrive with.
The nutritional program helped me understand how my body and mind had become severely toxic (courtesy years of junk/fast foods and job/family/health related stress etc.). This was an eye opener for me. I started by adding a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables in the form of green cleansing juices, green smoothies, big salads and other whole plant based foods. At once, I removed all processed/packaged and animal based foods out of my nutrition plan.
The more dietary and lifestyle changes I made, the more benefits I saw in my physical and mental health. Slowly but surely, my pains and aches disappeared, my balance improved, and my frequency of falling become less and less. Within a year, I was off all my medications.
Lessons learned: In the last 7 years of my health journey, I have realized how important is to have a good support system around oneself specially when trying to turn health around. I strongly believe when we seriously make a commitment towards restoring our health and take necessary action, the divine takes care of the results. I have been lucky to be blessed with many friends who has helped me navigate the often complicated and misunderstood world of nutrition. One of these God sent, great friend is Shobha Swamy. We are truly inspired by her and the health conscious community she has created. My wife and I have been part of Shoba’s health and nutrition group for quite some time and have learned so much. Her in-depth knowledge of nutrition and above all willingness to help others is unmatched. Being with Shobha has further increased my understanding of diet and nutrition. We have learned so many new recipes that are both healthy and tasty. To cap it all, it has been 7 years that I have been medication free and I fell the happiest that I have ever been. It’s not a cliché but I literally go to sleep with a smile and wake up with a smile. Even though I still have MD, I consider myself very fortunate as I am still able to walk and do many of the daily chores that I once thought were not possible for me to do. In fact many folks are amazed how I well I am still able to manage my MD. I attribute it to a combination of practicing SKY breathing technique, sahaj samadhi meditation and nutrient dense diet. In the last 5 years, I have completed three 5K walks as proof that true health lies in adopting a holistic lifestyle.
These days, I do my best to help others improve and restore their physical and mental well-being using a holistic approach to health that includes a nutrition packed diet, breathing exercises, meditation and physical exercise. I always encourage people to make the necessary changes to their diet and lifestyle habits before they are diagnosed with some form of sickness. It is much easier to prevent an illness than to recover from one.