Yoga and You: Fibro-Fighting Techniques
Do you ever feel like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz after a lengthy rain storm? I know I do many mornings when I first wake up and throughout painful flare-ups! My joints are squeaky, muscles achy, mobility stiff and painful.
Proper sleep and a balanced diet void of the various fibro triggers, as well as certain herbal supplements can be like “oil” to loosen me up a bit.
Beyond these methods, doctors strongly advocate a consistent exercise routine — something that is one of the last things you feel like doing due to the chronic pain and fatigue fibro brings. Still, from a physical standpoint, exercise is a necessary part of the regimen if you expect to find relief from the pain, stiffness and fatigue fibro brings.
These standard methods of combating the conditions associated with fibromyalgia only address a small portion of the equation, because the truth is, fibromyalgia doesn’t just affect you physically: it takes a toll on you mentally, emotionally and socially.
This begs the question, is there anything out there that can truly integrate all the suggested methods of treatment and maintenance so there is significant improvement and successful lifestyle changes for the body, mind and soul? Some researchers think so.
One of the more recently researched alternative treatments is yoga. It can be a good, gentle way to stretch your body and loosen up tight muscles and joints, while also helping with balance and strength. As you become more advanced, it can provide you with a cardiovascular workout as well.
Some people treat yoga just as exercise, but when emphasizing controlled breathing and awareness it also can help you relax, calm and focus your mind, and deal with emotional turmoil.
Exercise is a difficult thing when you have this illness. Too much exercise can cause symptom flares ranging from mild to massive. Be sure to talk to your doctor and learn how to start an exercise program before you begin a yoga regimen or any other activity.
No matter how much you fear exercise and movement due to pain, I think you will agree it is better than the alternative: if we stand still we will rust and become completely immobile and only worsen over time!
The good news is fibromyalgia and yoga is a great combination. Yoga’s careful strengthening and relaxation techniques will help get your body moving, as well as helping to improve your mind, body, sleep and more.
Yoga differs from traditional exercise in that it is a whole body experience using mind and body targeting of trigger points, while developing healthier thoughts and mindset.
Yoga Dos and Don’ts
Practice yoga on an empty stomach (at least two hours after eating) to avoid fibromyalgia nausea. Popular times to practice yoga are at sunrise or sunset and before bedtime.
If you are like me and many others in this fibro journey, mornings can be the worst part of the day because of morning stiffness. If you do desire to integrate yoga into your early morning routine, there are a few things you can do to prepare for a pleasant experience.
Take a warm bath, put on warm exercise clothing, and layer clothing to adjust with varying temperatures. Anything you can do to make your environment and experience more balanced is of benefit.
You may find productive for fibromyalgia and yoga is right before your evening meal, around four or five o’clock. Or, to really help you achieve a deeper sleep, practice right before bedtime. Just be gentle as too much activity at night can hinder sleep.
Develop a consistent yoga workout. Five or 10 minutes a day will be more beneficial for you than doing 20 minutes every other day, or 60 minutes once a week. Make it a part of your daily routine and don’t allow anything to deter that.