yoga for ms? (of course! but…)

24Jan15

I was just reading through a professional journal (the IDEA Fitness Journal) and one of their quick sidebars mentioned something about yoga benefiting MS patients. They do go into a little more detail, stating that it improved core stability and balance in a study group–basically, improving daily function, and improving quality of life.

As a mind-body professional myself (rehab Pilates, but I incorporate a lot of yoga into my work–and I practice both disciplines) I’m afraid that health professionals unfamiliar with yoga will read this tidbit and send their patients to a gym yoga class.

Now, nothing wrong with gym yoga classes. But someone who’s both new to yoga and has additional balance challenges, and strength inequalities, due to MS should not be starting in a gym class. Or, if you have no other choice (studios being out of the price range), show up early to class and have a chat with the instructor. Your instructor might not know what MS is, but just describe your physical issues, and they will undoubtedly be able to accommodate.

Ideally if you could go to a yoga studio, that would be best, as that guarantees a higher level of training. Just skip classes with “power” or “vinyasa” in the name for your first few classes.

I’d also suggest against the popular “hot yoga” for MS patients… many of us have heat sensitivities as it is, and the joints typically become looser as the room temperature rises. Most of us with MS are less stable in the joints, so a room that is a comfy room temperature will serve you just fine. And is often cheaper than hot yoga, too!

So, I encourage you to give yoga a shot! Have a chat with the instructor first, make sure they understand your physical issues, and they’ll be able to give you a few great pointers.

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