A Primer for Yoga Awareness Month

A Primer for Yoga Awareness Month
Of all the forms of exercise that have come and gone in my lifetime — Jazzercise, kickboxing, CrossFit, and others — yoga is the one that has withstood the test of time. And I mean that literally.  Many books have been written about the history of yoga. Its origin is fascinating and somewhat controversial. Most agree it was derived from an ancient Indian Sanskrit practice. But whether or not modern yoga stems from a 5,000-year-old tradition is where the controversy arises. Some authors debate that modern yoga is a 19th century invention. Regardless of its history, yoga remains a popular form of exercise and stress management today. It is an appropriate form of activity for fibromyalgia sufferers — even those with very low energy. Many poses can be done while sitting. Others can actually be done in bed! Our local hospital even has a class called "Yoga for Fibromyalgia." Please be aware that not all yoga teachings are created equal. There are many variations or schools of yoga. Each is derived from Hatha yoga and is a combination of physical postures (called "asanas" in Sanskrit), breathing techniques, and meditation. Hatha yoga classes vary greatly in the amount of focus on each of these three elements. That variation depends on the individual instructor and the goals of the students. I would caution you to visit a class before spending any money. Side note: If you attend an in-person class, you should inform the instructor before you begin that you have fibromyalgia. Every posture can be modified for beginners or for those with limitations. A well-trained instructor is prepared to make the class doable and helpful for every student regardless of ability.  Some schools of yoga are more appropriate than others for fibromyalgia sufferers. Some, l
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