The Benefits of Yoga

Yoga Beach


I don’t know what I’d do without yoga.  I stretch throughout the day to combat the muscle pain and tightness I have with my fibromyalgia, but stretching alone isn’t enough.  I do daily yoga sessions that vary from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. I do most of my yoga at home, but I love taking classes too.  I find that there is an added benefit and energy that you get from taking a class with other yoga lovers. I have a great teacher who helps me find the best poses for my fibromyalgia. She told me fibro patients have the best luck with holding poses longer, often up to three minutes a pose. My muscles stay really tight and sore, so I need to hold a pose longer, and often deeper, than others do to release that tension.

Yoga helps with my pain and muscle tightness, but it also helps keep me centered and focused in my daily battle against fibromyalgia and chronic pain. It’s time to focus on myself and let all the other worries of the day drop away. I focus on the needs of my body, not problems at work, or errands I need to run, or whatever else is on my mind. Yoga centers and relaxes me. A little meditation at the end of my yoga session goes a long way towards relaxing my mind and body and often knocks the pain down a notch too.

I live across the street from the college I attended. They offer free yoga classes twice a week during the school year. I’m really looking forward to next month when classes start up again and I can return to practicing my yoga with other people on a more regular basis than I’ve been able to manage this summer. The teacher is great and always asks at the start of the class if anyone has an ache they need to focus on today. More often than not, I’m the one that speaks up, telling her whatever part of my body is angriest today and needs extra help.

My yoga teacher sends out a weekly newsletter. She often includes a motivational quote or text from a book she’s reading. I liked this passage so much, I printed it out and keep it on my desk. I thought I’d share it with you.

“Conditions arise from moment to moment, changing all the time. You cannot hope to sit in the ship, relaxing, and reach your destination. The winds are going to come from all directions. So that is the truth of this life. You know where you want to go, and have a compass and all the controls at your disposal, but if you don’t use those facilities adequately and consciously then, in spite of them, you’ll go astray.

“If consciousness is the captain, everything goes okay. If the mind is the captain, nothing ever goes right, because mind has its own concepts, inhibitions, fears, prejudices, likes and dislikes. All this conditioning just keeps interfering with your perception of the moment.”
–from Yoga Amrit Desai via Danna Faulds’ memoir, Into the Heart of Yoga ~ One Woman’s Journey

Fibromyalgia sufferers can get lost in our head. Much of our problem lies not only in our neurological makeup but in our overactive thought processes. If you’re anything like me, you obsess about things too much. If we spend too much time with our mind running the show, we’re going to lose our way and get lost in the details. But if we follow our heart and stay grounded in the moment, we’re more in touch with our bodies and the pain isn’t quite as bad. It’s almost like if our bodies know that we recognize the pain exists, it doesn’t scream at us so loudly.  And by scream I mean increasing the pain. Our body’s needs is the compass we have to follow to navigate on the sea of pain we exist in. We can’t just relax. We have to actively work to control our pain and live life with it, not just give in to the pain and let life pass us by. Living a good, productive life, even though we’re in pain, is our destination.

One thought on “The Benefits of Yoga

  1. […] before bed ritual also includes stretching out my hips either through lunges or the Pigeon pose in yoga. I modify it to do it with my knee on the bed so I don’t have to get down on the floor. Pigeon […]

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