Countless blogs and articles cover the benefits of yoga, meditation and mindfulness for people with Fibromyalgia.
The crossover of yoga into the Western world has resulted in a more mainstream practice and scientific research backing up what practitioners have known for years.
There’s even research that has found encouraging correlations between regular yoga practice and decreases in pain, fatigue and sleep problems.
The yoga for those with Fibromyalgia is relatively relaxing and breath-focused. Restorative yoga is highly recommended.
A sequence I created with a yoga instructor has given me the basis for regular practice, with modifications for days where I haven’t the energy or pain levels to cope with a full sequence and for days when I feel I can push a little further.
I have some gentle, restorative poses that I enact naturally. Especially legs on a chair and child’s pose.
After more than a decade of learning to live well with Fibromyalgia, perhaps the most valuable learning I possess is the ability to tune in to my body. I am constantly analysing what works, what doesn’t, what’s causing what pain, what helps which body parts.
I bring this into my yoga journey, which has had ebbs and flows over the amount of time I’ve dealt with the pain.
The value of yoga for a body with pain and fatigue can be found in:
- The awareness of what you are doing with your body in each pose, consciously engaging the correct muscles, taking the correct stretch or benefit on offer.
- The basis of the breath. Breathing is key to yoga and to accessing the parasympathetic nervous system. Even the stretches encourage full use of the breath, offering relaxation benefits to stretches.
- The invitation to be outside of usual mind chatter. It’s so easy to be lost in the movement, the breath and the experience of the pose.
- The gentle strengthening. A favoured pose, Downward Facing Dog utilises all the key muscle groups.
- The ease of fitting practice in. Some days it can be 20 minutes on the mat, engaged in a flowing sequence. Others it can be a few key stretches in snippets of minutes. On yet others it can be one restorative pose for 10 minutes. Corpse pose can be used when sleep is being elusive, with or without a body scan relaxation.
Some yoga tools:
- Sequences focused on strengthening – I do a modified sun salutation sequence with additions when I feel I can. Here’s a sequence recommended for those with Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Stretching poses – like this video for child’s pose
- Restorative sequences, or one off poses
- Yoga Nidra – guided meditation “yogic sleep“
- Yogic breathing
My ideal yoga practice would look like this:
Sun salutations first thing, gentle yogic stretches at work, yoga nidra after work and legs on the chair pose in the evening. Or any one of these in a day. I never do all of them.
Perhaps one of the best parts of yoga for Fibromyalgia, is that you can fine tune it to your experience, your day, your mood. If the fatigue is bad and post exertion malaise has been plaguing you, you can choose a few poses and take breaks. If a particular body part has been upset, you can gently stretch all the muscles around it to free it up. If you’re desperate for a break from your mind and it’s constant noise, you can do Yoga Nidra and let the voice take over for a time.
Has anyone else found benefit from yoga practice or parts of it?