Meet Elina Boyd
Meet Elina Boyd, a registered yoga teacher, wellness coach, and a full-time blogger. Elina is originally from Sweden, but has lived in the US for the past 11 years.
Elina was 29 when she was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. After her AS flare-ups got worse in 2019, she began practicing yoga to increase her mobility. We sat down with Elina to learn more about how yoga and Copper Compression help ease her back pain.
How old were you when you were diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis?
How has AS impacted your day to day life?
Health and fitness is my life, my passion, and basically the reason I get out of bed in the morning! I used to do lots of high impact activities; long distance running, kick boxing, HIIT, etc. After being diagnosed with AS, and also herniating two discs in my lower back & suffering severe SI joint dysfunction as part of it, I had to completely rethink the way I move. I'm now very focused on alignment, flexibility/mobility work, core work, and low impact exercises. I do a lot of yoga, pilates, barre, and some lighter weight lifting. I believe the best way to help your body deal with pain and disease is to keep moving - whatever that looks like! I've also had to adjust the way i work and live, e.g. I have a standing desk, I always prop myself up with pillows in bed to keep my spine neutral, and i always travel with my Tempurpedic neck pillow as i cant sleep on regular pillows anymore.
How did you get into yoga?
I've been doing yoga on and off for many years but I actually just started practicing regularly in 2019 after i had my worst AS flare thus far, where i thought i was going to lose my ability to walk. I started doing Iyengar which is a very slow and precise style of yoga, especially good for injuries or conditions like AS. I started seeing increased mobility and flexibility, and I was hooked! I completed my yoga teacher training mainly to deepen my own practice but quickly realized i have a very unique perspective that can truly help others, so i decided to teach!
How does yoga help relieve some of your pain?
When you have AS, keeping your mobility is key! It's a "use it or lose it" situation. Yoga has really helped me by increasing the mobility of my spine (i don't have any fusion yet and i want to avoid it for as long as i can!) and also keeping the surrounding areas flexible, such as my hip, leg and back muscles. Everything in your body is connected, so if one muscle is too tight and/or weak it causes a ripple effect throughout your body. By working on the areas surrounding the spine, you can often ease a lot of the pain.
How has Copper Compression helped you?
My absolute favorite Copper Compression product is the Next Gen Posture Corrector! It's such a great product and perfect for us with AS, as we tend to start hunching forward as our spine fuses so it's something we constantly have to work on. I also started to get pain and inflammation in some of my smaller joints, like my hands and wrists - and I swear by the Recovery Wrist Brace and the Half-Finger Arthritis Gloves.
Do you have any advice for people who are dealing with the same thing?
Be kind to your body! I've gone through all the phases... I've hated it, resented it, yelled and screamed at it. But after a decade of living with AS, what I found works best is when I treat my body with love and respect. And kindness! If i need to rest, I'll rest. I eat nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods, I drink a lot of water, I move everyday, and most importantly - I listen to it!