My Pain/Fatigue Friendly Yoga Links

I’m a member of three Fibromyalgia support groups, two of which focus on actively fibro friendly linksbeing well. I love this!

Something I find myself sharing all the time are my favourite yoga exercises for pain and fatigue.

I thought I’d share the list here:

Bed yoga for spoonies

Chair yoga – I do this when I’m particularly stiff first thing in the morning, seated cat and cow and forward bend are delicious first thing.

Morning yoga

Gentle yoga for chronic fatigue

Yoga Nidra meditation for healing – this is one of my regular practices (I do Yoga Nidra daily)

Sleep Santosha YouTube channel has so many great videos for spoonies

Yoga for neck and shoulder tension – also have a look at Sarah-Beth’s other videos for some body specific yoga and beginner routines.

Half, or sanding, sun salutations – sun salutations are my base routine when I’m doing a 10-30 minute yoga routine and this is a great half version for times when you can’t get through the whole thing.

You’re turn, what’s you’re go to for spoonie friendly yoga?

Advertisements

Giant Meditation Post

I have been exploring the benefits of meditation for those with chronic illnesses recently. I am curious because Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation, makes a real difference to my day. After a 20 minute session my pain levels can drop to as low as 4/10 and decrease my fatigue levels to a similar place. The effects help me get through the busy evening period with my toddler.
Blue one way traffic sign

It’s not easy to carve out 20 uninterrupted minutes between work and the toddler. But when I see a gap, I snatch it up.

Want more about natural options for fighting fibromyalgia?

Natural Pain Relief: Supplements for Fibromyalgia Pain 

Essential Oils for Fibromyalgia

Yoga for Fibromyalgia 

A theory about Fibromyalgia, is that the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) may be stuck in overdrive. Meditation promotes a calming of this system, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to activate.

The benefits of meditation are probably due to 20 minutes of:

  • Lying down
  • Using my heatpack on my neck
  • A break from noise
  • Time alone
  • Complete focus on my body, accepting it as it is
  • Not struggling to nap, which I can’t, so using the time calmly and effectively
  • The body’s response to complete relaxation, allowing the sympathetic nervous system to slow down

It is a tool for well being that I keep close, it is something that transcends simple pain/fatigue relief and gives me time to focus on myself as a whole – my san culpa (mantra/goal of practice) is, “I am well; physically, spiritually and emotionally.”

Elaine R. Ferguson, in her book on holistic healing agrees: “Practicing this [mindfulness] meditation affects your mind, brain, body and behavior in ways that promote whole-person health.” P83 Super Healing: Engaging our Mind, Body and Spirit to Create Optimal Health and Well-Being.

And it’s vital that we don’t neglect our spiritual and emotional components of self in the quest for relief from physical issues. I feel there’s a close tie between my emotions and my pain/fatigue levels – fear or sadness have an effect on my sympathetic nervous system, which affects the body physically. So I am researching both body and mind effects on Fibromyalgia.

This article is available as a PDF download in my FREE resources page.

Meditation and Me

It took me a while to appreciate meditation, years, in fact, for me to consider giving up precious reading time for it.

Suddenly, in 2014, I read a book about mindfulness meditation, found a YouTube video of a Yoga Nidra session that I particularly liked (avoiding the spiritual/religious aspects of it) and then I was away running.

I have meditations, body scans and Yoga Nidra of varying lengths that I switch between as I like. I also use the body scan technique most nights to relax into sleep. The focus on the breath is like second nature to fall into.

Funnily enough, when I am more fatigued, I need the short and sweet practices – to avoid falling asleep and feeling groggy and gross when I wake. When I have slightly more energy (and time), I opt for longer ones. My usual best length is 20 minutes.

20 minutes seems to be a good number for me, I respond well to 20 minutes of yoga or Pilates, 20 minutes of walking and 20 minutes of meditation.

Meditation provides true rest for body and mind and I think that is what I so desperately need in my day.


 

I am so into meditation that I have created a lot of resources about it:

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book cover

There’s a chapter about it in my book.

 

 

 

 

 

you v fibro e course

Join my free eCourse here

Yoga for Fibromyalgia: A Giant Introduction with Links

No Type “yoga for Fibromyalgia” into Google and you will find a wealth of information trails to follow.yoga-20647_640

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 Fibromyalgia Podcast Video

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.

This article is a free downloadable PDF in my Resources page. Sign up here to find it.

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.

The practice of yoga includes many options and I definitely make use of the tools it offers.

Other posts you might like

Some yoga tools:

Yoga for fibromyalgia my experience research with podcast video

I have been trying to fit Yoga Nidra in more often. I have been struggling with sleep for various reasons and my son has been getting up early and I believe the 20 minute sessions I manage to fit in really help. The other day my fatigue levels were around 5/10 for the rest of the afternoon! Here’s the YouTube video I’ve been using.

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?


I’m so into yoga for Fibromyalgia that I have created a lot of resources about it:

sign up to newsletter

It’s a free report in my Resources page.

It’s a chapter in my book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia

 

A Brief Note on Fighting Flare Ups

It can be handy to have an unreliable memory. I forget just how bad it can get when I have a flare up.

This morning, I woke up after a night of extremely restless sleep (after a string of similar nights) with very tight muscles in my neck and upper back, the pressure wrenching my trigger points tighter. I felt on the verge of vomiting all morning.

But instead of getting lost in the pain, today I was able to put small coping mechanisms into place.

I thought I would share them just in case others fall into a quiet panic when they flare up too.

The first thing I did was take appropriate medicine. Unfortunately I did force myself to go to work because I had an important workshop. When I found that it had been cancelled I took the opportunity to go home. It was a good call.

The second thing I did was lie down with my heat pack with my legs up on the couch in half legs on the chair pose.

After that I went to bed and did a 20 minute Yoga Nidra meditation sequence. Then I felt ready to quietly continue my day, still in a lot of pain but able to cope.

I’m so grateful that I have these mechanisms in place, so that I know what to do when I get so sore that I could fall down and not get up.

Opportunities to give up when you have Fibromyalgia come often, but with them opportunities to fight arise also.

Tiny Mission Sleep – Sleep Drops

After declaring war on my sleeplessness, I have formulated a new series of Tiny Missions to attempt to get some sleep. To get 8-9 unbroken hours per night with as few restless/awake periods as possible.

This would be the first time in well over a decade.

After chamomile tea became a pleasant but unsustainable ritual (tea right before bed is a bathroom in the night nightmare) and didn’t give me the rest I needed, I researched another natural option

Sleep Drops for Adults. Described as below on the pharmacy website:

“SleepDrops for Adults is a unique combination of herbs, homeopathic remedies and First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand. These sleep drops contain a unique blend of vibrational remedies which have been designed to work on many different levels including – mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and physiological.”

I have seen many positive reviews and, according to a pharmacist, a person was able to stop taking sleeping pills with them. My GP is keen to hear how they work as he has seen them advertised.

My first night I took five drops half an hour before bed and five drops in bed. I followed the general usage rather than the intense programme listed because of my amitriptyline- I thought it may be too much. I slept generally well and felt rather relaxed. However there were still plenty of restless lines in my sleep graph. It didn’t help that my husband woke me at 5 and the baby got up at 6. So I spent my first day after super exhausted. My fatigue levels were between 6-7 out of 10, which is pretty high for me in the past year.

On night two, upon agreement with my GP, I took the full recommended dose for the “best results”. This resulted in my body being very relaxed, to the point where I was stuck awake from about 5am with a very sore neck, but my body was so heavy that the Fitbit thought I was asleep. Though, there were still plenty of restless and awake bars in the graph. The next morning I had a severe headache and very sore neck (flare related, not medicine related). I needed pain killers in order to get up. I spent the whole morning with a hangover feel and was dehydrated all day (medicine related).

I only went ahead with night three because I wanted a decent test. However, I only took it at 4am when I woke to go to the bathroom and was struggling to get back to sleep. Unfortunately it made my body extremely relaxed, so much so that my Fitbit thought I was asleep, but I only dozed from 4am onwards. The relaxed effect lasted through the morning and wasn’t bad! I’m unsure if it’s useful for my body to be so relaxed without sleeping, but my sleep graph was a little better, a couple of good chunks of sleep were had, even before I took the Sleep Drops.

After a couple of further nights with no additional sleep support, it was like my body was reset to my medicine. The restless periods were reduced, but it still takes over an hour longer in bed than I sleep.

The last test of the Sleep Drops, in order to see if it’s any help, is to use it to nap on a day I really need one.

On the day I finally had an opportunity, I took the drops and listened to a 20 minute Yoga Nidra for sleep video on YouTube. I was comfortable, the house was quiet. My body was completely relaxed. But I just couldn’t get off to sleep. After an hour I admitted defeat. My body relaxed, so that is worth something, but if I had just done a Yoga Nidra meditation, I would be more alert, less heavy in the head and stiff. Best of all, I would have received the benefits in 20 minutes instead of loosing an hour trying.

A few hours afterwards, I still felt off and determined that I will not use the Sleep Drops again.

They make my body relax, but not my mind. They also leave me with a hangover type feeling with dehydration and a heavy head.

Experiment – Total Relaxation Pose or How I Accidentally Fell In love with Meditation

This is an older post that shares how I accidentally fell in love with meditation which became a foundational aspect to my healing.


Since the the seismic shift of moving cities to take on a 3/4 time role, I have taken tiny steps to improve my life.

Now that I’m seriously pursuing the next stage of my mission to reduce my fibro/CFS symptoms, and in order to track what makes a difference and to fit it into a busy life, I’m going to try some experiments.

In mid-January I added D-Ribose powder to my morning and evening routine, when I take magnesium.

 How I Accidentally fell in love with meditation

As of the last week of January, I added total relaxation pose (aka corpse pose) for 10 minutes a day as a gentle introduction to meditation, and a gentle reintroduction to yoga.

For the first three days I did this faithfully. On the fourth day I forgot. On the fifth, I jumped right in and did a 15 minute guided relaxation called Yoga Nidra, it was bliss! I noted, as I walked the dog about an hour afterward, that my neck felt “nice” (meaning, the absence of pain). It didn’t last very long, but I liked it.

I then found Yoga Nidra free downloads with longer sessions. So I have a 50 minute, a 40 minute, a 15 minute one and a new mother’s one from a CD.

Having the meditation to look forward to has helped me cope with the day much better. I haven’t noticed a difference in energy levels, but it is nice to have something to look forward to when all I want to do is sleep (I can’t nap due to the medicine I take to help me sleep at night). Having my body in total rest for that time and for my brain to be switched off is a nice reprieve from myself.

Now that I have started I don’t know how I haven’t always done it!


For more information

Sign up to my free ecourse You vs Fibromyalgia