MULTIPLE Sclerosis crippled Lynette Dickinson to the point where she needed someone to come to her home and bathe her daily.
The mother of three young children was confined to a wheelchair and told she would never walk again.
In May, 2007, she started yoga teacher training so she could teach herself and others how to live in a state of peace.
“It was all about not being mad and teaching other people how not to be mad,” she says.
Lynette was only able to complete the first module by visualising yoga, meditation and relaxing. She practised that for a few months and when she went to complete the second module of the course, she discovered she was able to physically do the yoga she had been visualising.
By the beginning of December, 2007, Lynette was out of the wheelchair and able to walk with sticks.
For the past five years, Lynette has used Dru yoga, relaxation and meditation to manage her multiple sclerosis.
Now a professional yoga and meditation teacher, she teaches people with chronic illness.
“I’m kind of living my dream at the moment,” she says.
She believes she’s an inspiration to the people she teaches.
“Even when I’m not doing so well, I’m still calm and I smile so much that’s an inspiration in itself,” she says.
As well as teaching people with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, autism and multiple sclerosis, she also teaches women suffering from post and ante-natal depression through the organisation PANDSI.
“That’s the most beautiful class,” she says. “I always walk away with tears in my eyes out of gratitude for being able to offer them something.”
In addition, she teaches people with mental illness, holds public classes at Om Shanti in Griffith and also offers one-on-one classes.
“I taught a woman through the final stages of lung cancer for two years and it was so beautiful to be with her during that time because it gave her such a sense of herself,” she says.
Yoga gives Lynette and her clients increased flexibility, balance, improved posture and lowers stress – all of which help with her relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis.
“I’ve lost sensation in my tastebuds, in my skin, I have vision and hearing issues, pins and needles through my body, digestion and breathing issues, sometimes all at once,” she says.
Aside from the physical impacts, Lynette’s illness has affected her entire family. When Lynette was first diagnosed, she was married with three children – her youngest daughter was 11 months old. But her marriage has since broken down.
“MS is quite a mystery disease in that you can wake up in the morning and feel fine and be completely cactus by the afternoon and it’s a very difficult thing for partners to get a handle on,” she says.
“I think the stress of that and not knowing what our future was, and seeing me getting worse, just made it so difficult to maintain a relationship.”
Lynette says a lot of people support the person with the illness, but forget about the carer.
“If you’re a carer and you’re caring for someone with a chronic illness, it’s very difficult to talk about your issues around that. Emotionally, it’s a very difficult thing to do,” she says.
Lynette’s book “A Journey to Peace Through Yoga” is available at her website asparkofsplendour.com