This presentation was part of the Chicago Wellness for MS Forum held Saturday April 22, 2023

Yoga moves MS offered donation-based live virtual yoga classes for people with MS, Parkinson’s disease and other neuromuscular conditions seven days a week. There is also a library of over 100 videos available at that can be accessed with a monthly or annual subscription.

Watch the full presentation: Yoga for MS with YMMS founder Mindy Eisenberg

Mindy’s mother Linda was diagnoses with MS in her late 20s. She was a beauty and the beast was MS. It was primary progressive and there wasn’t much out there besides valium and steroids. She was told not to exercise or move. She became more and more contracted in a fetal position. She spent over 20 years in a nursing home. Thanks to modern medicine and research there are so many more options and possibilities out there now.

Mindy did her yoga teacher training and her son’s nursery school teacher who had MS asked Mindy to teach adaptive yoga at their support group. They asked her to come back every week because they felt better when they did yoga.

Mindy pictures her mother dancing and free and has devoted her life to teaching adaptive yoga, training teachers, and making adaptive yoga available to people with multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular conditions.

Yoga revolves around the mind–body–heart connection. Place your hands over your heart and feel what your heart is saying to you right now.

Our brains were designed to think. The more we practice meditation the more the thoughts settle down like a snow globe. The origins of yoga started 5,000 years ago as something people would do prior to meditating. Yoga is a lifestyle and more than just the poses.

Holistic Umbrella

  • Meditation
  • Self-care
  • Lifestyle

Benefits of yoga:

  • improve strength
  • Improve flexibility
  • helps with coordination and balance
  • improved posture
  • better cognition
  • improved quality of life


Inhale and exhale through the nose. We take 20,000 to 25,000 breaths per day. Functional breathing means breathing slow and low.

50% of people are mouth breathers or reverse breathers. This is not a judgement, it’s a pattern that evolved and can be changed with a little bit of work.

Take one or both hands to the belly and close your eyes to tune into the breath. The belly should expand as your inhale and softly sink in as you exhale. When we’re rushing we’re more likely to breath from the chest, through the mouth. It can be challenging to breath through the nose.

Try a bees breath: Take your thumbs to your ears, ring fingers to your nostrils, pinkies at the corners of the lip, middle fingers to the into the corner of the eyebrows then buzz like a bee so you feel like vibration in the hands.

Mindful movement

Try the Ganesha mudra to feel your strength. Make fists with both hands, your belly may pull in. Then take your right hand in front of you in your left hand behind in, palms facing together and make a clasp where you’re pulling your hands apart. Relax your shoulders and activate the arm muscles. Then switch the hands and put the left hand in front and the right hand behind.

How is Yoga for MS different from “regular” yoga?

  • for any body – every pose can be modified
  • fun, creative, playful and safe
  • adaptive with props – props are NOT a sign of weakness
  • no pain, all gain -– tune into the mind–body connection
  • adjusted pace
  • room temperature
  • plentiful assistance

Myths about yoga

  • Flexibility is NOT required to do yoga. In fact those who are stiff may benefit more
  • Yoga is not only able stretching, it’s a mind–body practice
  • Success in yoga has nothing to do with how many poses you can do, they can all be adapted for different abilities and body types
  • Yoga doesn’t have to be practiced in a hot room
  • You don’t need fancy yoga clothes, just come in something comfortable
  • The yoga teacher is a guide only, you know your body best, don’t be afraid to make the yoga work for you

Try an adaptive yoga practice

  • March in place seated or standing
  • Inhale to life the leg and exhale to let it go.
  • Use a tennis ball to massage the bottom of the feet every day
  • Sit up tall and interlock all 10 fingers and place in front of the knee. Bring up the knee to the chest.
  • Stretch the hips by placing the foot next to the other ankle or on top of the opposite thigh
  • Put a finger between each toe in the “yoga handshake” and rotate the ankle or use toe spacers
  • Circle the torso in both directions
  • Adaptive sun salutation
    • inhale arms up and exhale to fold over the lap with a long spine
    • Circle shoulders up and back
    • round the spine, look at the belly
    • in hale the arms up for seated chair pose then rock to come up off the chair any amount
    • daily twisting between meals is recommended: take one hand to the outside of the opposite thigh
    • Seated warrior II with one leg out away from the chair
  • Seated or standing tree pose
  • End with Savasana

What changes with yoga?

  • skeptic to believer in possibilities
  • stagnant to moving
  • fearful to more grateful
  • exhausted to refreshed
  • desperate to hopeful
  • isolated to community member

Try a short adaptive yoga practice with Mindy Eisenberg

Mindy Eisenberg, MHSA, C-IAYT, ERYT-500 is the Director and Founder of Yoga Moves MS. Mindy is the Founder and Director of Yoga Moves MS, a non profit 501(c)(3) with the mission of improving the quality of life for individuals with MS, Parkinson’s Disease, and neuromuscular conditions through the provision of adaptive yoga and holistic health and wellness education.  Mindy has provided in person and virtual yoga therapy to individuals with mobility challenges for over seventeen years and thrives on building a strong, mighty community for her students, families, and care partners. She is the author of Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body, created for individuals with MS and neuromuscular conditions and Adaptive Yoga Cards, daily yoga moves for all ages and abilities. She has trained hundreds of students with her Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body Teacher Training and is a Qualified Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction teacher, Reiki Master, and Certified Buteyko Breathing Instructor. Her experience as a health care administrator at the University of Michigan Medical Center contributes to her ability to bring the Yoga Moves philosophy of healing to the health care arena. She created the cutting edge and widely acclaimed annual Virtual Holistic Health and Wellness Forum for MS, presents for corporate, academic, and yoga therapy organizations, and offers small group and private therapeutic yoga, breathing, and meditation sessions. She lives with her husband and pets, Felix and Oscar in Michigan, and loves to visit her daughter and son, Julia and Noah, in NYC.