When I discovered yoga years ago, it was a way to offer more classes and keep my participants safe. Instead of high-intensity training, yoga brought a gentle approach, plus resistance training with the weight of the body.
I left yoga early in my fibromyalgia diagnosis. The doctor suggested I remove all carbs from my diet to decrease inflammation. Well, the absence of carbs also left me without energy. (I have since modified my eating plan) During a yoga class I taught for the high school ski team, my legs seized up and I used my voice instead of my body for the remainder of the hour.
That reaction had me believing that yoga was another activity I could no longer enjoy. Well, recently, a church member offered yoga classes for our congregation. I attended the first class to support her and was amazed at how good I felt when we finished. I went to the next class and was relieved that my back pain was easing and my muscles were supporting me. One week, the instructor was ill, so I filled in for her and really pushed myself and the class. The result- I still felt great.
I’ve returned to yoga once a week for now. I hope to gradually increase my practice times, but currently, this is working for me.
My back and legs are more relaxed. I have improved posture and my breathing is deeper. My neck pain is reduced and my hips are more open. I forgot these wonderful benefits of deep stretching.
If you are struggling with fibromyalgia, try a weekly flexibility routine. If you are worried about yoga, look for a stretching class or stretching videos that target your sensitive areas.
To begin at home, try these three poses and let me know how you feel:
- Triangle- (pictured) Stand with your right foot approximately three feet in front of your left. Position right toes forward and left toes toward the left. Straighten both legs. Lower your right hand to your right ankle and raise your left hand toward the sky. Look up, forward or down depending on the comfort in your neck. Maintain triangle for 30 to 60 seconds as you breathe deep and then repeat on the opposite side.
- Knees to chest- you can perform this yoga pose first thing in the morning before you get out of bed! Lie face up. Bring one knee at a time toward your chest. Grasp behind both knees and feel the stretch in your lower back. Close your eyes and if it feels comfortable, gently roll your legs in circles to deepen the stretch.
- Modified butterfly pose- Sit with your legs in front of you. Bring your soles together to form a diamond shape with your legs. Keep your feet approximately 2 feet from your body to target a deeper hip stretch. Lean forward until you feel the stretch. Aim to place your elbows on the ground between your knees. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Sit up and then repeat.
Exercise is the key to so many things! I recently read an article that lists cardiovascular exercises as a deterrent for Parkinson’s Disease. It truly is a healthy addition to your day. Yoga and stretching fit in as well since flexibility is one of the main fitness components.
Please let me know how yoga improves your day!