Yoga teacher strives to help others with Crohn's
Dee Day of YogaQUEST is currently developing classes geared towards addressing gut disorders and scoliosis.
Day owns YogaQUEST, located at 3325 E. 31st St.
Dee Day wants to help people with conditions most people don’t like to discuss — Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. But, she’s not a doctor. She’s a yoga teacher.
Born in Hawaii, the Tulsa-raised entrepreneur once co-owned CS Designs, a dancewear company that manufactured uniforms for the NBA and NFL. The avid dancer developed Crohn’s disease in her early 30s.
Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel condition with uncertain causes, occurs when the body’s immune system begins mistakenly attacking its own healthy tissue, which classifies it as an autoimmune disease. An estimated 20,000 Oklahomans suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. There is no known cure.
Day believes that her Crohn’s was brought on by stress 20 years ago and S-curve scoliosis. After a series of hospital stays and three years of steroids, which only masked the symptoms, she had two major abdominal surgeries removing most of her intestinal system.
Dr. Nick Mamalis, a now-deceased Tulsa gastroenterologist, sent her to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for experimental treatment. “If not for him,” Day says, “I might not be here today.”
Now the owner of YogaQUEST, Day has been in remission for 20 years this month. Although Day only has partial small intestines, she says it doesn’t affect her day at all.
“I’m not on any medications,” she says. “I take vitamins and supplements; and I think my yoga is why I’m able to stay this way.” Yoga is a stress reducer, exercises your internal organs and sends oxygen by way of the bloodstream deep into the tissues and cells of the body, according to Day.
Her health restored, Day takes week-long camping trips in Oregon. “I’ve been scuba-diving,” she says, smiling. “My surgeries have not kept me from leading an active lifestyle.”
Adaptation is how Day hopes to help others. Soon she will begin offering a group of classes focused on gut disorders and scoliosis. The classes will be specific to the areas of the body affected and learning how to work with limitations in the correct way.
But really, she says, anyone is welcome.