Julian Walker is a Los Angeles-based yoga instructor who almost lost his career and passion to Lyme disease.

Over ten years ago, a tick bit Walker during a trip to upstate New York, unnoticed. He returned to California with confusing symptoms like skin inflammation, and, with area doctors less unfamiliar with the disease, it took five months to get a proper diagnosis. Untreated, Lyme disease took a toll on his body. In case you’re unfamiliar with Lyme disease, it causes hard-to-diagnose flu-like symptoms and joint pain that worsen over time. Learn more here: 10 Things You Need To Know About Lyme Disease.

For Walker, the battle not only challenged his well-being, but his livelihood too.

Discomforts due to Lyme disease severely affected Walker’s yoga practice

Leading up to his diagnosis, Walker went through a number of discomforts including, “severe neck stiffness and pain, reduced range of motion, which transitioned into nerve pain,” he told Z Living. Walker also experienced impingement syndrome in his arms and migrating muscle aches. The prolific yoga teacher, who runs a studio in Santa Monica, California, struggled with continuing his practice during his sickness. “Yoga became almost impossible for a while,” Walker said. “I had to radically shift my yoga to address the specifics of what Lyme disease was doing to my body.” (Photo: @saritphotography)

Also on Z Living: How Popstar Avril Lavigne Battled Lyme Disease

Walker’s strategies for managing pain and discomfort

A solution Walker found to help manage his pain and discomfort due to Lyme disease? “Taking a hot bath and then running for 10 or 15 minutes before stretching — slowly and carefully — gave me the most relief,” he said.

He also found help managing symptoms with alternative treatments like organ cleanses and using a rife bioresonance machine. Little solutions like these were Walker’s key to staying healthy while maintaining his active lifestyle. Ultimately Walker managed his disease with the standard antiobiotic Doxycycline, and looking back, he acknowledges the experience as one of growth for his practice and health.

Also on Z Living: Worried About Lyme Disease? How To Protect Yourself

“I’m now stronger and healthier”

Walker’s experience with Lyme disease did have one silver living. “I am now stronger, healthier, more balanced and connected to my yoga practice as well as other fitness routines and sports than before I got sick,” he says. “It made me appreciate my health, wellness, fitness, and vitality, and not take them for granted.”

How to stay positive while managing Lyme disease 

It’s tough to keep your chin up while dealing with the aches and pains that often accompany Lyme disease. Here’s Walker’s best advice, gleaned from his own journey:

  • Be super diligent about whatever treatment options are indicated and seem to be working.
  • Expect reactions when things are effectively killing the Lyme bacteria and take it slow and easy.
  • Cultivate a compassionate mindfulness practice.
  • Stay connected to a network of friends

Keep reading to learn more stay-healthy strategies from Z Living: 

Tell us in the comments: Have you or someone you know experienced Lyme disease? How was it managed?