Could a Tailored Yoga Practice Address My Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Could a Tailored Yoga Practice Address My Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
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I attended my first yoga class in the 1970s. The instructor was an octogenarian who was as agile as a cat. He ended each class by saying, “You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” I was reminded of those words the other morning when I had difficulty getting out of bed.

Sadly, my relationship with yoga ended temporarily with that first series of classes. Some years later, I attended another course with a different instructor. After each of those evening classes, I fell asleep more easily and slept more soundly. The result was decreased pain and increased energy. I vowed to continue the practice after those classes ended.

I haven’t been entirely faithful to my promise, although I have practiced yoga off and on over the years. My usual motivation for restarting my practice was a formal class, though it was an awkward experience for me. Attending a class required my speaking to the instructors beforehand to inform them that fibromyalgia and repetitive motion don’t mix, and that I would be limiting myself to one or two repetitions of each movement. I hated singling myself out in that manner, but I felt that the alternative was to appear disinterested or incapable — neither of which were true of me.

With the advent of the internet, and more specifically, YouTube, I found that I could follow along with a yoga practice at my own pace. Recently, a public broadcasting channel aired some routines that I could copy. Although doable, neither of these methods provided the motivation that I needed to continue. My interest quickly waned.

Many years ago, I was referred to a yoga therapist for treatment of a pinched nerve. The outcome was less than stellar. However, recently, yoga poses recommended by my physical therapist seemed to help. Having experienced such varied results, it occurred to me that yoga should be an individual practice, tailored to one’s unique symptoms at a particular time. I realized that I might be more inspired to maintain a routine if I believed that the poses were addressing my specific problems.

I began searching online for “Yoga poses for irritable bowel syndrome,” and “Yoga poses for insomnia,” etc. I jotted down the names of some poses that I remembered and began to do them nightly.

After a couple of weeks with no significant results — positive or negative — I had to consider the possibility that I might be doing the poses incorrectly. I’d learned that this could be more harmful than helpful. So, now I’m on a quest to find a yoga instructor or therapist who is willing to work with me on perfecting the poses that are most helpful for my symptoms.

My research and my common sense tell me that the knowledge of the ancient yogis contains the key to an improvement in my overall health. Any increase in movement is beneficial for me. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

Diagnosed in 1990, Christine has experienced fibromyalgia (FM) symptoms since childhood. After a career in aerospace finance she was trained as an FM support group leader by the Arthritis Foundation and participated in groups on both the east and west coasts. Designated a Leader Against Pain by the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) she advocated for increased funding and awareness for FM. She is the author of “More Than Tender Points: A Fibromyalgia Memoir,” available on Amazon. An Upstate New York transplant now living in Southern California, she credits the sunshine for improving her symptoms.
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Diagnosed in 1990, Christine has experienced fibromyalgia (FM) symptoms since childhood. After a career in aerospace finance she was trained as an FM support group leader by the Arthritis Foundation and participated in groups on both the east and west coasts. Designated a Leader Against Pain by the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) she advocated for increased funding and awareness for FM. She is the author of “More Than Tender Points: A Fibromyalgia Memoir,” available on Amazon. An Upstate New York transplant now living in Southern California, she credits the sunshine for improving her symptoms.
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