What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?
The symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are, first and foremost extreme fatigue, which can leave a person unable to get out of bed in the morning. Other symptoms include weakness, impaired memory, panic attacks, muscle pain etc. The cause is unknown. It sometimes begins with flu like symptoms which tend to linger longer than usual. Often with CFS, a person has to give up working, relationships can suffer and self esteem can take a hammering.
If you have CFS, you might be nervous of taking up anything which could expend your energy. However, although most exercise programmes ask you to expend a lot of energy, yoga, by contrast, helps you conserve your energy so fatigue lessens.
The preliminary results of recent studies in the USA show that yoga can help people with CFS more than anything else.
The sense of well-being brought about when we practice yoga can greatly help lift the depression which is often associated with CFS and empower the person to start a self help regime.
Breath work is the cornerstone of yoga practice and breathing exercises in conjunction with body awareness and gentle stretching can start the healing process.
Some tips from our Yoga Therapists
- Find an experienced yoga teacher, preferably one who uses yoga therapeutically. People with CFS must practice much more slowly and mindfully than other people. An experienced teacher who understands CFS will be able to patiently guide you into a suitable practice.
- Think of having private lessons. A general class would prove too demanding for a person who is fatigued. A private session with a yoga therapist can provide you with instructions tailored to your own needs.
- A little and often! Practice every day if only for 5 or 10 minutes. This is more beneficial than an hour once a week which can actually cause more harm than good.
- Be gentle with yourself. Start by practicing in bed. Use pillows and cushions to support your body. This phase will pass and you will soon be able to move on as your energy is restored.
- Breathe! Be conscious of your breathing as often as you can during the day. Practice the breathing exercises your teacher gives you even if you cannot do any more.
For details of qualified yoga teachers near you, click here.