Yoga Dos and Don’ts
Consider it part of your morning ritual even if you vary in the degree of impact based on your level of pain. Increase yoga practice time as you are able.
Find something pleasant to focus on while you’re practicing yoga: a favorite picture on the wall, a decorative focal point or a window — anything that invokes positive thoughts.
Don’t practice yoga in your normal “work” environment where you might be looking into your kitchen thinking about cooking breakfast, or near your laundry area where there are clothes to be folded. Your place should be a quiet peaceful place with no distractions. Yoga’s full benefit is the ability to concentrate on what you are experiencing in your body as well as your mind.
Your thoughts need to be clear during yoga practice. Below are some of the things you should be concentrating on:
- Your breathing. Take long, deep complete breaths through your nose.
- Focusing on one spot. Stare at a spot directly in front of you, or whichever direction your head is pointing for the posture.
- Your body’s alignment. Be aware of what your body is doing. Is it balanced, equal on each side? Are you using the proper form for the pose?
- Sensations in your body. Are your muscles tighter on one side than the other? Are you feeling a good, comfortable stretch or are you pulling on your muscles too much?
- Tightened stomach and Kegel muscles. This is a little harder to accomplish but well worth the effort. You may only be able to hold these for a second of each pose at the beginning but keep trying to hold them longer.
Begin your yoga practice with warm-ups and end with relaxation for best results.
- Don’t compress either the lower back or the neck into a backward bending position. If you have neck or back problems this will help avoid injury.
- Don’t lock your knees when bending forward in either a standing or sitting position. This will help prevent pulling on your lower back.
- Cushion your knees with a pillow under them if kneeling on them hurts. You can also put a pillow under your bottom, and over or between your feet when kneeling to take some stress off the knees.
- Be aware of poses and your health. If you have high blood pressure, sinus problems or are menstruating, do not practice upside-down postures.
- Never force anything or push until you feel discomfort. If a posture is hurting you, ease up or stop. The one exception to this may be foot pain as the feet are often weak and tight. Keep trying to work them if possible.
Listen to your body and go with what it will be able to do — it will let you know what you can and can’t do from day to day. If you have a day where you are unable to do any of the yoga exercises due to pain or a flare-up, it would be of benefit to still find a quiet place to sit and clear your thoughts and exercise your mind as you prepare for your day.
While yoga may not be for everyone, studies indicate it brings benefits to many fibro sufferers. Talk to your doctor, seek out certified yoga instructors in your community, research what suits your personal needs, and seek guidance from friends who may participate in the practice.
Be gentle, patient and forgiving along the way and remember this applies to ALL of you — body, mind, and soul. Keep moving forward as you can, move in place when you must, but keep moving! Oil those hinges!