Adaptive Yoga empowers those with MS and neuromuscular conditions to partake in their healing process. It is not about fancy poses. It is not “one size fits all.” It can fit all body types, whether flexible or stiff, short or tall, muscular or lean, and able to ambulate with or without a cane, walker, scooter, or wheelchair, says Mindy Eisenberg, yoga therapist. She is the Founder of Yoga Moves MS, a non profit, dedicated to providing therapeutic yoga to individuals with MS and neuromuscular conditions in small group classes throughout southeastern Michigan.
A regular yoga practice provides a means to harness inner power and manifest changes that were perhaps never considered possible to those with chronic conditions and movement challenges. By becoming more aware of the mind body connection, our students discover and focus on capabilities rather than disabilities. We teach them to say “Yes, I can.” Saying “I can’t” is obstructive. Even stating, “I will try” does not show enough resolve. Having a little faith, students find they can have more control over their body.
Dr. Voci, Chair, of Yoga Moves MS, states that “the empowerment that yoga provides can serve, along side one’s medications, as therapy to better health. Adaptive Yoga and breathing are referred to in our community as our Weapons of Mass Empowerment!
Breathing practices, physical poses, and meditation have a high impact on energy level. Everyone and anybody can learn to use the Complete Yoga Breath to calm the nervous system and manage fatigue, a common symptom for those with MS and neuromuscular conditions. The breath is a natural “edge detector” that helps one to understand their current capabilities and energy level. The simple act of focusing on the breath can relieve stress, and improve focus, pain, and sleep patterns.
Yoga Moves students report that physical postures lesson symptoms such as spasticity or muscle rigidity. The practice may complement a medical treatment or even reduce the need to “take another pill” to decrease spasms. Those interested in adaptive yoga should always take the necessary precautions by consulting with their physician before embarking on a practice.
For muscle spasms, practice Leg Stretch Pose in a chair or on the mat. It helps to stretch the back of the leg, hamstrings and calves.
If students ask me for one pose to manage fatigue and relieve stress and tension, I always tell them to find time in their day to practice Legs Up the Wall Pose or a variation, Legs Up on on a Chair Pose. These poses are known to help with headaches, circulation, swelling, menstrual cramps, and restless leg syndrome
Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body is a user-friendly guide that contains simple yet detailed instructions for traditional yoga poses together with lots of photos and accessible adaptations.