Richard S. Dunlap is the last person you would expect to get sick. “I used to be a bomb-proof young hero,” says Dunlap, an architect who lives in Sausalito, California. At the age of 23, he skateboarded and snowboarded professionally, bicycled avidly, and practiced yoga for at least one hour a day. “I was a very active, very motivated person,” he says. “In fact, I had just come off a wonderful period of my life. I was doing some professional work in films, and I had traveled the world.” Then, quite suddenly, Dunlap, who is now 35, crashed.

Ellen Klein, a new mother who lives in Sea Cliff, New York, tells a similar story. Ten years ago, at the age of 27, Klein lived a dynamic, no-holds-barred life in New York City. Klein, who managed a clothing store in Manhattan’s Soho District, pushed herself in every part of her life. “I was working hard, working out hard, going out hard—that whole New York lifestyle,” says Klein. “I always did a lot and always tried to fit too much into the day.” Then, also quite suddenly, she crashed.

The force of the crash, for both Dunlap and Klein, came from several directions. Dunlap was hit with unexplained dizziness, abdominal discomfort, chills, night sweats, fever, and nausea. Klein was ambushed by headaches, muscle pain, and panic attacks.

And then there was the fatigue—devastating fatigue. With little warning, both Dunlap and Klein catapulted into a world of overpowering exhaustion and lethargy. “I spent a good 10 months doing nothing,” says Klein. “Even getting out of bed and going to the bathroom was an issue.” The same was true for Dunlap. “I went from being Superman to being in bed. It was crushing.”

Although their symptoms differed somewhat, Dunlap and Klein had two things in common: They were both diagnosed—eventually—with chronic fatigue syndrome. And each discovered, after trying numerous conventional and alternative therapies, that what significantly relieved their fatigue, strengthened their spirits, brought them peace, and ultimately restored their health was yoga.

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