Yoga, Travel, and a Colostomy by Nguyet Ly

Yoga, Travel, and a Colostomy by Nguyet Ly

Hello Everyone!

I’m Nguyet, I’m Vietnamese and English but I spend most of my time moving around countries! I had my colostomy surgery in 2013 after a serious bowel obstruction. I was dealing with Crohn’s symptoms for many years, with no end in sight to the severe pain. I was pretty relieved after surgery to not be experiencing most of my symptoms anymore. 

The only major issue I am now facing is skin irritation around my stoma, which sometimes improves for a while but does always come back unfortunately. However, my stoma has allowed me much more freedom and for the last 20 years I have been a yoga coach.

Being a travelling yoga teacher with a colostomy can be difficult at times, but it has also been incredibly rewarding. I have learned to embrace my body's changes and adapt my practice to accommodate my needs. It has taught me to be more compassionate towards myself and others, and to approach each day with gratitude and acceptance. This is sometimes shorter lessons, less hours so that I can properly rest. 

My students have been incredibly supportive and understanding, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my journey with them. I have found that my colostomy has not hindered my ability to teach or practice yoga; if anything, it has made me a more empathetic and resilient teacher.

I hope that by sharing my story, I can inspire others to embrace their own challenges and find strength in their vulnerabilities. Yoga has the power to heal not just the body, but the mind and soul as well. And I am grateful to be able to continue spreading that message, colostomy and all.

To any new ostomates I would say: Do not be afraid of travel! My main tips are to essentially OVER prepare everything: Get yourself an aisle seat on flights, Pack days worth of supplies in hand luggage (so that if luggage is lost you’ll be ok!), Arrive early to every new place to scope out the toilet situation (or call up ahead of time), and think about health insurance for peace of mind! The more I have travelled the more at ease I have felt, so please don’t lock yourself away.

We all have days where we are unable to do what we want to due to our health, so on the days I feel ok or like I have some energy I am racing outside to enjoy it!

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