As someone who is usually hesitant to try new things I’ve found that if you give something new a try, it could result in some really nice benefits and rewards. A few years ago I wrote about trying yoga classes for the first time, and as it turns out it’s something that has really helped my pain issues when they come on. I attend hot yoga classes, and I know for many with MS this style is not an option if heat sensitivity symptoms are an issue with the disease, but yoga in other formats can be beneficial too. It’s more about the movements and mindset it creates that can be valuable to all.
The nice feature about yoga is that it can be done in different styles and set-ups. Individuals can practice yoga while seated in a chair, on the floor, standing up—however it needs to be modified it can be. In my classes the teachers are very helpful in readjusting poses and movements for students if they have a disability or an injury or are just having a difficult time with the original poses. The instructors want the exercise to be the most rewarding and useful for students so they’ll specifically take time to change something so the individual is still receiving the benefits of the practice.
Yoga can help increase muscle strength and improve mobility, balance and flexibility. Two of the most important aspects of yoga are the breathing and meditation components. We begin our classes with breathing exercises that help quiet the mind and also set the tone for the rest of the practice. Breathing becomes one of the key elements when you’re doing the postures because it helps to calm the body and allows you to do more in each movement. The meditation piece helps to combat stress and anxiety, and while it may be difficult for some to engage in this, it can be a powerful tool to help one stay present and focused in the moment. Exercise in any form can positively impact mood and attitude as well. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before engaging in exercise routines to ensure that it is appropriate for your needs and what will work best for you.