New breath for Yoga Matt
A Swords man with lung fibrosis is showing the condition is no barrier to fitness and features alongside a Dubs football star in a new yoga exercise DVD for people with lung fibrosis.
Matt Cullen, from Swords, appears in a newly-launched yoga exercise DVD for people with lung fibrosis produced by the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association which also features Dublin GAA footballer and yoga instructor, Michael Darragh McCauley.
In the video produced by the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association - which is available to view online or to order at www.ilfa.ie - Michael Darragh takes three patient volunteers through a series of breathing and meditation techniques, followed by physical exercises.
There are two levels of exercises featured which are suitable for beginners and those who feel they can progress to a more advanced stage. Before undertaking the exercises, viewers are asked to adhere to the 'BORG' scale - named after Gunnar Borg - which helps them assess how breathless they should be when exercising and gauge what is the right level of activity for them.
Matt Cullen, from Swords, is one of three people with lung fibrosis to volunteer to take part in the yoga exercise DVD under the expert guidance of Michael Darragh. Matt's visions of becoming a body contortionist were slightly wide of the mark: 'I had never tried yoga before and had the false notion that it would involve somewhat contortionist body movements!
'However, doing the yoga class with Michael Darragh was a very relaxing experience and there was no pressure whatsoever.
'The yoga exercises were safe, easy to follow and very do-able, and I found them good for both mind and body. Not only did they help with my breathing and flexibility, but they were also really helpful in reducing the stress and anxiety that comes with living with lung fibrosis.'
For Michael Darragh Macauley, lung fibrosis is a cause especially close to his heart having sadly lost his father to the disease.
He said: 'My father unfortunately had lung fibrosis and sadly passed away in 2012. It was a very tough time for all the family as you can imagine.
'Consequently, I was very happy to become involved in this DVD which I hope will make a real difference to the lives of people with lung fibrosis. I have a deep appreciation of yoga and the holistic benefits it offers across a whole range of areas. Even though it becomes increasingly difficult to exercise with this condition, it's important that patients do try, and yoga is perfect because they can push themselves as hard as they see fit.
'In the video we go through a series of exercises that can help people manage their health and cope with the challenges of living with the condition.
'The great thing is that the exercises can be done whether seated or standing and can be adapted to suit each individual's abilities. People can go at their own pace and no one gets left behind.'