Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - how can yoga help?

What is MS?

A disease of the central nervous system, MS can affect people in different ways and in different areas of the body. How MS affects individuals depends on which parts of the brain and spinal cord are affected by the disease. Whatever stage of the illness you are in, yoga has a lot to offer as a self-help tool.

How can Yoga help MS sufferers?
  • Yoga can help the body’s own self-healing mechanism and may slow down or even halt the disease process.
  • Yoga increases energy and counteracts fatigue. Most exercise programmes ask you to expend a lot of energy; yoga, by contrast, helps you to conserve your energy so fatigue lessens.
  • Yoga can help lift depression. The sense of well being brought about when we practice yoga can greatly help lift the depression which is often associated with MS.
  • Yoga has a beneficial affect on all body systems, improving their function. The respiratory system is strengthened, digestion improves, immunity is enhanced, the nervous system is soothed.
  • Yoga stretches keep joints from becoming stiff and muscles from becoming weaker. People with an illness are often afraid to use their bodies, so the mind limits the body. However, the beauty of yoga is that the simplest stretches are often the most effective. Moreover, yoga postures can be modified to suit everybody regardless of how disabled a person is. Yoga can be practiced from a wheelchair or even a bed.
  • Yoga breathing techniques along with meditation rest the brain. When you have MS, the brain becomes both excited and fatigued at the same time and so it is important to rest it by focusing on the breath.
  • Yoga does not need any fancy equipment, you can practice at home.
  • Yoga improves sleep patterns and promotes a feeling of well being.

Seek out a yoga therapist or an experienced yoga teacher who has worked with people with MS before. For details of qualified yoga teachers near you, click here.