The practice of yoga has been thought of as a healing modality for thousands of years. Countless people routinely enjoy the benefits of yoga on a daily basis. They noticed improvements in strength and flexibility and stress reduction. But when an individual with MS does yoga, do they reap the same benefits? It looks like all signs point to yes.
The word yoga itself literally means union, uniting the mind, body and spirit. Which is exactly what yoga does, bringing together mindfulness while putting your body in specific poses and being aware and controlling of your breath. Doing all of these things together can bring wonderful feelings of peace and relaxation. So it’s no wonder that yoga can be helpful to an MS body, that is often inflamed and tense.
Yoga can help an MS body in so many ways. When you think about it, life is very unbalanced and unsteady. No matter who you are, daily life and every day tasks will challenge your balance or strength regularly. When you have MS, these challenges become that much harder. This is exactly what yoga can help with. Yoga puts you in the awkward positions that force you to work on your balance, strength, and stability all while maintaining your composure. This can translate over to life immediately. Whether it’s catching yourself when you trip or maintaining your call and breathing during a lengthy MRI.
Yoga isn’t just for MS or‘s who can stand on their 2 feet either. Adaptive yoga is incredibly safe and beneficial as well. Even if you can’t get into a full pose, there are yoga blocks or other helpful devices that can help you maintain the pose when mobility restrictions get in the way. Chair yoga is also beneficial as well. Regardless of mobility issues, individuals who access adaptive yoga still get other benefits of breathing and mindfulness.
Many research studies have been done to back this point up. Into thousand 14, the Rutgers school of health related professions conducted a study where participants practiced yoga twice a week for two months for 90 minutes each session. At the end of the study participants found improvements with walking, balance, fine motor coordination, concentration, bladder control and vision. They also experienced a decrease in pain and fatigue. Another study found that participants showed similar improvements plus decreases in anxiety, depression and spasticity. I’d say those are pretty fantastic results!
Where to Start
Thankfully, yoga can be accessed virtually anywhere thanks to the Internet. However, if you are new to yoga and unsure of the positions and poses, working with a certified yoga instructor at first, even for just a few classes, might be really beneficial. They can help you gain proper alignment in poses and feel The correct benefits from each. If adaptations are needed, they can help with this as well. Once you feel confident to do different poses on your own, there are numerous resources available on the Internet for free, including videos and classes.
Yoga is clearly a beneficial modality for any individual, but specifically individuals who have MS. Can drastically reduce symptoms and improve mood and functioning as well. Even better, you can get started right now in your living room!