Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis
Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, degenerative, autoimmune disease of the
central nervous system that affects approximately 2.5 million people worldwide.
Idea behind involving
yoga in healing MS, is to
balance the nervous system without inflaming and aggravating the condition.
MS symptoms vary greatly and may include weakness, fatigue, exhaustion,
tremors, rigidity, muscle wasting, difficulty walking, tingling, numbness, and
sensitivity to both heat and cold. Underlying all the symptoms is an over-taxed
system. Study conducted on yoga and its healing effect on patients suffering
with Multiple Sclerosis, showed that although yoga did not influence cognitive
function or mood, but it did lessen
and increase energy level. This is an important finding because fatigue is one
of the most difficult and hidden symptoms of MS. One more advantage with Yoga is
that, it can be done at home with minimal investment.
breathing, which can release tension and improve circulation and
body awareness. Yoga practice can facilitate harmony between the
muscular and nervous systems of the body, possibly resulting in more
fluid movement and relief from muscle tension.
Balance for MS patients , can be addressed with
Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I) and Virabhadrasana
II (Warrior Pose II), and Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). While you practice try to
master the breath and practice restorative postures. The simple breathing
technique of lengthening the exhalation a little longer than the inhalation
helps quiet the nervous system.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Stand in your bare feet on a smooth and even surface. Keep your feet
together, with your heels touching the wall. Beginners may find it easier to
keep their feet 5 cm (2in) apart.
Stretch your arms along your sides, with the palms facing your thighs,
and your fingers pointing to the floor. Stretch your neck upward, keeping
the muscles soft and passive.
Distribute your weight evenly on the inner and outer edges of your feet,
and on your toes and heels. Tighten your kneecaps and open the back of each
knee. Turn in the front of your thighs. Tighten your
buttocks. Pull in your lower
abdomen, and lift your
Keep your head erect and look straight ahead. Breathe evenly and with
awareness. Experience your body and mind as an integrated whole and feel the
surge of energy. Stay in the pose for 30 - 60 seconds.
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I)
Support your right buttock and most of your right thigh along the very
edge of a chair or support. Your right foot should be directly under your
knee. Kneel with your left knee on the floor or supported by a block if
needed. If necessary, tall people can pad the seat with a blanket or mat to
get more height. Visualize an imaginary line running vertically down the
centre of your body.
Your left buttock is off the chair, with your inner thigh pressed into
the edge of the seat. If necessary for balance, rest your hand on the back
of a second chair. If possible, raise one arm, then the other. Repeat on the
Stand with your feet three to 3 - 3.5' apart against a wall. Turn your
left foot in 30 degrees and your right foot out 90 degrees.
Be sure that your right heel is in line with the arch of your left foot.
Bring your hands into a T position and take a deep inhalation.
Exhale and move your pelvis toward the left as you extend your torso to
the side and over your right leg.
Place your right hand down on your shin and stretch your left arm
vertically overhead, palm forward. Turn your head to gaze softly at your
left thumb. Hold for three breaths. Put your left hand on a block or a chair
seat if you canít comfortably reach the floor. Raise your left arm up,
balancing against the wall.
Release by coming back to standing and practice on the opposite side.
Adhomukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) :
This is a good
to begin with for those who are mobile but have balance problems and for
those who are weak in the arms or legs. Stand with your back to the wall
with a chair in front of you, turned so the seat faces away from the wall.
Fold a sticky mat into quarters, place it on top of the chair back, and
cover it with one or two blankets. With your heels against the wall, bend at
the hips and put your hands on the chair seat.
Place the bottom of your pelvis, below the navel, onto the padded chair
back. Deepening the bend at the hips, rest your chest on the chair seat,
your hands on the floor.
Your feet may go up the wall or be elevated on blocks, depending on your
height and flexibility.
Savasana (Corpse Pose):
Spread the mat on the floor. Place a bolster on the mat, with its long
sides parallel to the long sides of the mat. Sit in
Dandasana (Staff pose) with the short end of the bolster against your
buttocks, and place the folded blanket on the far end. If you have
osteoarthritis of the knees or if your legs are feeling tired, place a
bolster under your knees.
Lower your back, vertebra by vertebra, onto the bolster until your head
rests comfortably on the folded blanket. Position your buttocks evenly on
the centre of the mat. Spread out your arms to the sides, palms facing up,
and rest them on the floor.
Straighten your legs and stretch them evenly away from each other,
without disturbing the extension of your
Exhale, focusing on your breathing, then lift and stretch your diaphragm,
keeping it free of tension. Keep your arms at a comfortable distance from
your body. If they are placed too near or too far away, your shoulders will
lift off the bolster.
Stretch your shoulders away from your neck. The centre of your back
should be on the centre of the bolster, keep your abdomen soft and relaxed.
Expand your chest and relax your throat. Until you feel a soothing sensation
in the neck. Ensure that your head does not tilt back. Relax your facial
muscles and your jaw. Do not clench your teeth.
Keep your breathing smooth and free of tension, but do not breathe
deeply. Let your eyeballs relax into their sockets, and allow external
surroundings to recede. Feel the energy flow from your brain to your body
body as the physical, physiological, mental, intellectual, and spiritual
lanes come together. Stay in the pose for 5 - 10 minutes.
Practice the poses at your own pace, never forcing or straining. Remember
that the goal is to enjoy the practice, not to achieve a particular posture.
Hold each pose for 10 to 20 long, deep breaths, then re
lease and move with awareness to the next posture.
Dated 03 March 2012