Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sit and Stay Fit with Yoga

Here is an article, the first of a short series on MS and Yoga published on Health Central April 7.

Living well with MS can't exclude exercise.There was a time when my daily routine included walking for miles and playful activities like horseback riding, skiing, and dancing, but then I began to have trouble balancing and walking, so my life changed. I was familiar with yoga, and that fit right in as my abilities changed. When or if... Read moreChevron

There is a reference to yoga teacher Jenney Alterman's story. Here is the rest of Jenny's story.

"When I was a kid, I had a friend who was sick a bunch. She was always on the skinny side and was always kind of pale and weak. I thought it was just normal for some people to be that way. At the beginning of our freshman year of high school, we tried out for the basketball team. We had practiced all summer long and were so excited when we found out we made the team. We had visions of hoop victory, side-by-side showing everyone we deserved to be there. But a week later, we both got the bad news. My buddy, my partner in crime, my best buddy had mono. She would not ever play in a high school basketball game, she would never get to see me play in a game, and it would be nine months before I would see her again. That moment I knew something was not right with her. It wasn’t the mono, it was more than that. But at that young tender age, I had no idea what it was. Maybe it was just a feeling I had.

"A few years ago I attended training for yoga teachers and the adaptations of yoga for individuals with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). On that first day of training I knew what was wrong with my friend, she has MS. I haven’t seen my friend in many years and wondered where she was and how she was feeling. Wouldn’t you know a week after the training we found each other on Facebook! Wow, funny how the world works. I never made mention of MS to her, other than my training classes, but I think she knew that she had MS, but was unable to face it.

"I have always thought of my students and multi-level beings, containing both suffering and non-suffering parts of the body and mind, the way I want to be thought of by others. When working with someone, I see them as more than just a physical body. We are emotional and spiritual beings with different moods, energy levels, needs and desires. This is where yoga is so beneficial. We are not limited to the physical constraints. We can use breathing techniques, meditation and guided relaxation to promote a healthy mind and spirit to achieve freedom and flexibility beyond the muscles and bones.

"When working with MS it is important to respect the other person completely, understand the effects not just on the body, but on the mind as well. It’s hard for people with MS sometimes to face themselves in the mirror and not get depressed about their circumstances. This I believe is the most crucial part of the practice of yoga. Lifting the mood, accepting the body as it is and maintaining a healthy outlook. This can be the greatest obstacle to overcome for both the yoga teacher and student. However, this is not just limited to folks with MS, anyone can suffer this way. This surrendering is the turning point of many, and even though it is hard for all involved, I cherish every time I witness it. It means someone’s path has made a turn in a healing and healthy direction and that no matter how bleak the future seems, the mind and spirit can always shine a light to guide the way.

"My friend has since come out of the closet and shared she has MS. She now has acceptance and is on a path of light and love with all of us to support her."


Herrad said...


Please could you go and visit The Wheel of Fortuna and leave a supportive message for Steve.

His partner BobRobert is in the local hospice and is not expected to live much longer.

It is not so long since his diagnosis which makes it all even more sad.

Thanks for your support.


Herrad said...

It has been awhile since I visited many blogs.
Decided to do a quick visit to say hello to as many blogs as possible tonight..
Nice to visit your blog its been ages, I am sure it will not be so long again especially now my life is getting better.
I went out this afternoon for the first time since 19 August 2009 and it was brilliant.
Lovely to feel my world getting bigger again after all this time in bed.
Have a good evening and a pleasant day tomorrow.
Please visit Steve @ The Wheel Of Fortuna


Important we support him in the first weeks of his bereavement.

Diane J Standiford said...

I still enjoy yoga with my MS from my chair!

Vicki said...

Diane, There are many yoga poses for a chair, and there are some actions and stretches from a bed as well.

Anonymous said...

Following your blog.. thanks Ken

Anonymous said...

following your blog.. thanksKen

Ken said...

following your blog..thanks

Jeff Swenson said...

Actually yoga is considered as a complementary or alternative medicine. The best thing is that yoga can be personalized according to the person needs. Really to direct a client with multiple sclerosis does provide challenges. This is an important observation, because fatigue is one of the most unseen symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Honestly I feel that the first two sessions will not be easy to start. Still, before you know you will do things you never thought possible and are very good at it. One of the best things in yoga is that even people, who have severe disabilities, can benefit from yoga.