I was a certified yoga teacher before I received my multiple sclerosis diagnosis and cannot tell you enough how beneficial yoga is for my body and mind.
If I sit for too long my legs get sore and ironically feel much better when I get up and move. Depending on my energy level, I begin slowly with simple poses and modify to what works for me each day. Breath is very important and therapeutic and it is important to remember to inhale slowly through the nose and exhale evenly through the nose. This breath clears the mind and allows you to gently melt deeper into the pose.
Here are a few yoga poses to try. Don’t be shy about using blankets, blocks or straps to make yourself aligned and comfortable.
Bound Angle Pose Variation (Baddha Konasana)
In this variation bring the bottom of your feet together far away from your body to create a diamond shape. Thread your hands and arms user your shins and reach for your feet, if possible. Otherwise modify and place hands on top of the feet. Round your back and soften the shoulders, neck and head. This pose stretches the groin, thighs and knees.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Place your feet parallel hips distance apart and bow forward. I suggest using blocks or reach for your opposite elbows. Be sure to keep your knees bent to take tension out of low back. Let the head and neck soften and hang towards the floor. Forward bends create length and space in the spine and loosen tight hamstrings. Don’t force it, just honor the body where it is at.
Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
This pose works on balance and can be done with one hand on a wall for support. Focus on one spot and use your core muscles to bring one foot above or below your knee (not on the knee or you can get injured). Breathe and concentrate on one point on the floor. Your mind will feel calmer and concentration should improve.
Hero Pose (Virasana)
Bring your knees together and slide the top of your feet wider than your hips. If your bottom does not touch down or you have knee pain, put a block or blanket under your butt. This pose is an intense opening for the front of the legs. Lengthen through the upper body, activate your core, lean back in space, soften your face and breathe.
Don’t forget Savasana, or corpse pose, at the end of your practice to give your body and mind time to rest and surrender.
Please share what yoga poses you like or don’t prefer. I’m planning to share more yoga for MS articles soon.