Are you in pain? Is chronic pain affecting your ability to sleep, think and remember? Fibromyalgia causes muscles to shorten and get stuck in a tense position, resulting in pain. Jacob Teitelbaum MD of the National Fibromyalgia Center tells us: "One of the beauties of yoga for people with Fibromyalgia is that it returns muscles to their natural length."
If you are suffering from Fibromyalgia then yoga may be what you need. Fibro causes pain but it doesn't damage the muscles and joints in the way that arthritis does. Therefore practicing yoga may relieve pain and muscle stiffness without causing further pain or injury. Evidence from the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health suggests that exercise, movement, body awareness and muscle strength training may help. Yoga is ideal because it uses all of these approaches combined and is adaptable to individual needs whilst maintaining the benefits.
Stress can be a trigger. If you can learn to relax your muscles this will naturally reduce the pain you are experiencing. Yoga teaches us how to shift the nervous system out of the stress response and into a relaxation response instead. This is absolutely vital when your central nervous system is sensitive.
Chronic pain effects everyone differently and your yoga practice should reflect that. At Breathe Yoga with Nicci I offer small group classes or 1:1 private sessions in order to ensure variations are tailored to each individual need. The yoga I teach covers physical postures, meditation and breathing techniques and restorative poses, all of which can be continued at home each day. SL Crotzer, author of Yoga for Fibromyalgia recommends that "beginners do a gentle practice that enhances relaxation and that they avoid strenuous poses until they know they can move into them without triggering a pain reaction." I offer progressive classes taking you from where you are now and building a tool kit of techniques to support your wellbeing.
Tips for your practice
-stay warm during your practice- wear comfy layers that you can move in.
-move slowly- this includes coming into and out of poses as well as transitioning into and out of the whole practice.
-work evenly on both sides- even if the pain is only on one side it is important to always balance your body evenly.
-Breathe into your pain- when you notice pain go slowly and focus breathing into this sensation. Pain causes a response to contract and protect which consequently shortens the breath. Prolonged shallow breathing triggers the fight or flight response, triggering the release of Cortisol which is a stress hormone. And so the panic rises and the tension worsens and the pain increases. Breathing deeply counters this stress response by stimulating the vagus nerve which runs from the brain to the diaphragm. This nerve activates the parasympathetic nervous system which combats the fight or flight response, calming us and allowing us to relax and release muscle tension, therefore alleviating pain.
If you would like to join a class and be guided through breathing techniques and supported movement, please contact me. Below are details of my Friday Chair class which may be of benefit to you.
Chair Yoga for Beginners
Fridays 11am at The Courtenay Centre, Newton Abbot
Each week you will explore and learn a range of postures and breathing techniques to help you manage and lessen symptoms of Fibromyalgia. I understand that some days getting to a class simply isn't possible. Therefore I offer flexible booking. Simply buy a 'Five Class Pass' for £50 (£10 per session) and this is valid for 8 weeks, which means you don't lose money or your place in the class if you can't attend every week.
I would like to thank you for reading this post by offering you your first class for just £5 (booking and payment in advance still applies due to limited spaces available)
This class is also suitable for those with other health and mobility issues who would benefit from the safety and support of this style of Chair Yoga. Please click the link below to contact me with any questions.
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
Sanskrit prayer meaning "may all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all."
**Please note I am a qualified yoga teacher (400hr), I am not a medical practitioner and if you have any questions or concerns you should seek medical advice prior to attending any class.