Yoga for fibromyalgia and chronic pain is a useful practice.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes muscle pain and persistent fatigue. Recent studies have shown that doing yoga regularly could help improve the severity of some fibromyalgia symptoms, improving quality of life.
How Does Yoga for Fibromyalgia Help?
Yoga has some specific benefits that make it a useful approach to managing fibromyalgia. These benefits include:
Improved Muscle Tightness and Tension
A fibromyalgia sufferer might believe that the tightness and muscle pain they experience makes yoga impossible but, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be flexible to start doing yoga.
There are a lot of benefits to beginning a yoga practice, including increasing strength, mobility, and balance. If you have fibromyalgia, start slow, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Over time and with regular practice and gentle exercise, you’ll see your flexibility, strength, and muscle tension improve.
Encourage Better Mental Health
The mental and spiritual effects of yoga can significantly help people with fibromyalgia cope with the stress of living with chronic pain. You’ll sleep better and learn how to listen to your body and its limitations.
Correct Spinal Alignment
Your skeleton supports all of the muscles on your body and moving incorrectly can throw your whole body out of alignment. When you practice yoga with a qualified instructor, you learn the proper way to move your body to improve your posture and spinal alignment at your own level. Before you know it, you’re moving fluidly and smoothly even when you’re not on the yoga mat.
8 Yoga Poses for Fibromyalgia
Here are some of the best poses to try if you have fibromyalgia or are experiencing chronic pain.
1. Legs Up the Wall
Blood will move from your legs to your head
For this pose, lay on your back and place your hips, legs, and feet against the wall. You can stay in this position as long as you want, modifying the pose by bending your knees if needed or using a yoga bolster to help prop yourself up. This pose is beneficial for fibromyalgia sufferer because it helps relax the lower body, open the hips, and stretch the hamstrings.
2. Cobra Pose
Laying flat on your stomach, place your palms on either side of your chest near the level of the elbow. Breathe in, lifting your head, neck, and chest while keeping your elbows close to your body. Hold for a few breaths then exhale, lowering yourself back to the ground. This is a great pose for fibromyalgia pain. It stretches the back and chest which are typical problem areas.
3. Mountain Pose
Physically, this pose appears pretty simple but it takes a lot of concentration to get it right. This is the starting position for standing poses and requires focusing on breathing and finding your center of gravity. Concentrating on maintaining proper alignment and keeping your muscles and breath in sync can eliminate pain and lower stress.
This is known as the Corpse Pose and, while it might seem simple, it’s one of the most relaxing rejuvenating yoga positions there is. Because you’re laying on your back, you’re able to focus on relaxing the mind and focusing on your body. The goal of the pose is to connect with the world around you and let go of the things that you can’t control. It’s a great way to end a yoga session or clear your head before going to sleep.
5. Child’s Pose
For a standard Child’s Pose, position yourself on your knees with your legs folded under you. Gently round your back, bringing your head forward to touch the ground if possible. You likely won’t be able to make it all the way to the ground at first so start by getting as close as you can. You can try some modifications if needed, too. Place your knees together, as far apart as your yoga mat, or anywhere in between depending on your flexibility. Let your arms hang limply or stretch them out in front of you. This pose stretches the back and spine.
6. Warrior I
Relaxing yoga poses that focus on stretching are great for fibromyalgia pain but it’s important to also incorporate poses that work on strength. This Warrior pose focuses on activating the muscles throughout the entire body, working the back, legs, and core while simultaneously keeping the mind focused.
7. Cobbler’s pose
There are a lot of benefits to Cobbler’s Pose. Not only does it stretch the groin, hips, thighs, and knees but it also works the core and back muscles as you hold yourself in alignment. You can also modify the pose if you have to by placing yoga blocks under the knees for added support.
8. Standing Forward Fold
This is another great pose for stretching the back muscles, hips, and hamstrings. You can modify this pose to stand with your feet together or a hip-width apart. Breathe in then exhale as you bend your body to meet your toes, especially folding yourself in half. Let your hands fall to the ground or rest them behind your legs. Bend your knees if you need to if you require more stability.
Start Small and Keep Moving Forward
One of the main things to remember about yoga for fibromyalgia is that it’s not a competition. If you need to start slow and build your strength and flexibility over time, that’s okay. In fact, that’s where many of the benefits lie.
The pain and muscle stiffness that comes with fibromyalgia may prevent you from trying yoga in the first place, but when you remember that it’s okay to start wherever you are, the whole experience becomes much less intimidating. If you keep up with it, you’ll begin to see improvements in your ability to get into poses.
You’ll feel better physically as you improve your flexibility and balance and your mental health will improve as you begin to be more connected to your body and the world around you.