Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that involves widespread muscle pain that appears to be a result of the tightening and thickening of the myofascia, which is the thin tissue that holds the muscles together. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, trouble sleeping, and digestive problems. One way to holistically manage fibromyalgia is with yoga.
Yoga is one of the oldest known health practices in the world. It teaches mind and body unity through physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, regulate the heart rate and even slow the aging process.
A main symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic muscle pain and tightness. Yoga increases muscle endurance and flexibility through simple poses and focused breathing that gently stretch the muscles and create a condition of ease throughout the body.
While yoga may involve little movement, the mind is connected to every pose, which provides discipline, awareness and a relaxed openness, all of which help regulate functions like the heartbeat and the breath. Physical tensions in the body, such as the pain and tightness of fibromyalgia, then ease into a state of relaxation.
Fibromyalgia also can cause fatigue and trouble sleeping. As yoga’s gentle stretching and focused breathing help soothe the pain of tight muscles and create a sense of calm throughout the body, it becomes easier to sleep more soundly. This solid night’s sleep leads to more energy and less fatigue.
People who have fibromyalgia might experience feelings of anxiousness or depression and decreased energy. Yoga helps create a heightened sense of peace and awareness, which may help reduce stress and tension, both physically and emotionally. Yoga breathing practices help get rid of any choppiness in the breath and promote a smoothly flowing breath. The smooth breath results in the smooth flow of thoughts, which calm the restlessness of the mind and create clarity, improved focus and more energy.
Tension or migraine headaches are another symptom of fibromyalgia. Yoga helps ease headache pain because yoga promotes vascular and muscle relaxation. Simple yoga breathing practices such as slow, deep breathing for as little as five minutes can trigger a relaxation response in the muscles throughout the body.
Janet McKenzie, Naturopathic Doctor of Summit Natural Health Centre adds, “Yoga is a fantastic treatment for those with fibromyalgia because it addresses all the areas fibromyalgia impacts: body, mind and spirit. Because yoga can easily be adapted to a person’s limitations, it is particularly well-suited for those whose pain or fatigue prevents them from engaging in more strenuous activities, while still allowing progress to more physically demanding routines over time. If you could only use one natural treatment for your fibromyalgia, this would be the one to choose.”
A regular yoga practice can help people with fibromyalgia gain muscle flexibility, feel less pain and tightness, achieve greater focus, gain energy, sleep more soundly and more. The emotional, physical and psychological benefits of engaging in a regular yoga practice are worth exploring for fibromyalgia relief and beyond.
Reviewed by Janet McKenzie, ND
Written by Jessica Braun
Jessica is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.
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