Posted by: Thixia | June 18, 2008

Yoga: Mind over MS 2 of 2

MS and yoga: getting started


Just because it looks tricky doesn’t mean you should be scared to give yoga a try. But before you don a pair of leggings and get ready to bend and twist, it’s important to do your research. There is a wide variety of types of yoga, some more vigorous and challenging than others. Before you try one, it’s important to check with your doctor and discuss with an experienced yoga instructor which form will best suit your needs and abilities.

Once you have decided on a type of yoga, it’s time to find a class that suits your needs. If you have few mobility restrictions, a regular class may be appropriate. A good instructor should take your condition into account and can recommend modifications for any postures that may be too difficult. If you use a cane or walker, a chair yoga class or a class aimed at seniors may be a good match.

Dress for class wearing light, loose clothing that won’t restrict your movement. Because some people experience a worsening of MS symptoms in the heat, it’s important to wear clothes that allow you to stay cool and to make sure you practice yoga in a studio that is kept at a comfortable temperature. Some types of yoga are performed under extremely hot conditions, which may not be appropriate for people with MS.

When you start, make sure to take it at your own pace. If you’ve never done yoga before, try a beginner class, move slowly, and don’t force movements if your body doesn’t want to cooperate. While it’s important to challenge yourself, it’s also important that you not push yourself too hard. Yoga isn’t a case of “no pain, no gain,” so if a position hurts, ease up. With practice, you will become stronger and more flexible.

Relax already!

Relax,yoga,yoga instructor,practice,

If yoga doesn’t appeal to you, relax! From deep breathing to meditation, there are a number of other techniques that can help you to beat stress. Here are some examples:

  • Clearing your mind: Ridding all the thoughts from your mind isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it’s a great way to take a mental break from stress. Set aside 10 distraction-free minutes and find a comfortable seat in a quiet room. Close your eyes and try to visualize a calming scene or focus on a calming phrase. If your mind starts to wander, bring your thoughts back to that scene or phrase.
  • Deep breathing: Deep breathing can relieve tension and help you to relax, and – what’s best – it can be done anywhere and at any time. Start with a hand on your belly, which will allow you to feel each breath. Inhale slowly through your nose, pushing the air towards your stomach to expand all the way to your belly, and then slowly exhale from your mouth, allowing all the air to exit and your stomach muscles to relax. Repeat four or five times.
  • Meditation: Deeper meditation requires a combination of clearing your mind and deep breathing. Set aside 15 minutes once or twice a day, around the same time of day if possible. In a quiet room, do a round of deep breathing, and then focus on a word or phrase that makes you feel calm. Repeat that word or phrase over and over in your head, focusing on its sound. If you have trouble concentrating, do another round of deep breathing and try to focus on the word again. Meditation can be extremely helpful, but it takes practice, so if it doesn’t feel right the first time, keep trying.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation: In order to appreciate the feeling of relaxing your muscles, you need to feel the contrast to when they are tensed. Focusing on one muscle group at a time, gently tense each muscle group for a count of five, and then slowly release until it goes totally limp, focusing on how your muscles feel once relaxed. Work your way through all your body parts, from your face to your feet. Be careful when tensing though – doing it too hard could trigger a muscle spasm, so gradually increase tension to determine how much works for you.
  • Visualization: Give yourself a mental vacation! As in the “clearing your mind” exercise, relax in a quiet room and then picture a relaxing scene – only here, you put yourself in it. Imagine yourself in the scene and allow yourself to feel each sensation, sound, and smell associated with that scene.


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The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.

© 1996 – 2008 MediResource Inc. – Targeted Health Solutions





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