Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured
I love this quote from B.K. Iyengar, considered to be one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world. He highlights that the practice of yoga can indeed help us to endure what cannot be cured, which is good news for those of us with Fibromyalgia. Personally, I have found this to be very encouraging and certainly in my experience, my time on a yoga mat makes me feel at peace with my aching body.
Before, I continue I would just like to make it clear that I am not a “bendy Wendy” and have never been a “bendy Wendy”. It has only been in the last 3 years that I have adopted this practice and made it a vital part of my personal wellbeing story when dealing with my own Fibromyalgia.
Yoga is an incredibly adaptive practice and totally suitable for anybody……yes, even you!
There are many styles of Yoga and personally I opt for the more gentle, slower Hatha yoga which is designed to calm and align the body, mind and spirit in readiness for meditation. The postures or asanas encourage the body to open up the many energy channels within to allow the life force, prana or chi to flow freely. As the positions work with the breath, this helps us to still our “monkey mind” and allows us to just be in the present moment.
Stretch it out…
According to Mark J Pellegrino MD in his book Exercise & Fibromyalgia, he states that “Because Fibromyalgia muscles are so tight, they are more vulnerable to sprains and strains, so it is especially important that this tightness be counteracted by stretching”. Yoga is a great form of stretching and coupled with the breathing and visualisation techniques this is great not only for relaxation as you would expect but also has positive effects on pain and fatigue.
Yoga for Fibromyalgia
The versatility of Yoga means that it can be adapted for each individual’s specific needs. It can be practiced seated in a chair or even lying down. Even just a few minutes a day will reap rewards. You can attend a class or cultivate an at home practice – I do both and would certainly recommend yoga teacher, Chas Rough who has his classes available via You Tube. I am so grateful that Chas given me permission to share his Yogamazing Podcasts here on my blog, so click here to see a short 20 minute session for sufferers of Fibromyalgia. You can also find a short practices for fatigue and lower back pain.
Whether you are attending a class or just going through some gentle stretching at home, it is important to keep your focus on the breath. It is by breath work that our mind quietens down, bringing about the wonderful knock on effect of relaxing muscles and pain easing off.
It’s not a competition
As I eluded to earlier, each practice is individual and even if you are in a class setting, the instructor should encourage everyone to feel into the positions for themselves. It is natural that you want to see what everyone else is doing and actually look like you know your stuff but I promise this wears off after a short time as you become aware of your breath and the movement of your body. The great thing about Yoga is that is not a competition, not even with yourself, it is just an opportunity to gently move, stretch and align your body whilst being at peace with yourself for the short time you are on the mat.
The gift that keeps on giving
See stepping onto your mat as a beautiful gift to yourself, a time of rest and recuperation. To move your body in whatever way feels good at the time, no pressure, no worries. You can call it Yoga or call it stretching if that feels better for you but by whatever name you give it, you owe it to yourself and your body to move it or lose it.