Please bear in mind that I have no medical degree and am not a medical professional. The advice given is that of a Yoga Teacher. Always consult with your physician for a professional opinion.
According to scientists at the University of Missouri- Columbia, “Patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) who exercise and practice relaxation and other non-drug techniques report fewer symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and morning stiffness than do patients who receive medication alone. Optimal treatment of FMS should include non- pharmacological interventions, specifically exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy, in addition to appropriate medication management as needed for sleep and pain symptoms,” says Lynn A. Rossy, M.A., head of a study that made these conclusions.
As you already know, fibromyalgia is a condition that often produces pain, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and other symptoms. It mainly affects muscles and their attachments to bones.
This cycle of pain and other physical symptoms can lead to frustration, anxiety, and other forms of emotional upset.
Among recommended treatments are moderate physical exercise that stretches muscles and improves cardiovascular fitness, and relaxation techniques.
For those who suffer with fibromyalgia, Yoga exercise, breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques offer a variety of benefits. Yoga training doesn’t require special equipment and can be practiced any time of the day, a few techniques at a time, as needed to maintain or cultivate energy and strength.
Many Yoga techniques can be performed in a chair, in a bed, or on the floor.
Yogic exercises stretch and relax all of the major muscle groups and help release tension and fatigue. Some asanas that involve spinal decompression are useful, as they work to relax tight, sore muscles, stimulate circulation and the hormonal system, and push fresh oxygen throughout the body.
In addition to strengthening and limbering the muscles, Yoga exercises and postures leave you feeling energized.
Yoga breathing exercises (Pranayama) counteract fatigue and help to reduce harmful stress reactions. Deep, rhythmic breathing helps to lift depression and reduces anxiety.
With depression or anxiety, the breath becomes shallow and less oxygen is available to the brain. The breathing exercises and physical exercises increase the flow of oxygen in the blood, to the muscles, and to the brain.
When practicing Yoga relaxation and meditation techniques, you learn to relax every muscle and forget about the pain within your body, while turning more attention to breath awareness during meditation.
Meditation will teach you to stop reacting to intense sensations and begin a more supportive relationship with your body. When you stop excess thought, even for a moment, your mind and body experience a much needed rest.
You can also practice meditation before bed to improve sleep patterns and possibly reduce dependency on drugs. Fatigue and disturbances in normal sleep cycles are common symptoms of fibromyalgia, daily meditation is helpful, as it provides deep rest that is, often, hard to achieve with normal sleep.
Regular practice of Yoga enhances physical, mental, and emotional well-being, providing a solid support system while coping with fibromyalgia.
You should seek out a gentle and compassionate Yoga teacher. It is wise to study with Yoga teachers who focus on therapeutic applications and healing your body.
Students, who have fibromyalgia, should not push muscles to point of exertion. Holding Asanas (Yoga poses) for too long, can cause symptom flare-ups as contracting a muscle for any period of time can activate trigger points. Movement should not be excessive although immobility is another fairly common cause of trigger point flare-ups. You should pause between repetitions and allow your muscles to relax.
Always consult with your physician or a medical professional about practicing Yoga or any exercise program before starting.
With all of that said, some of our yoga teacher training graduates have fibromyalgia and teach classes to their students daily. All of them feel that a restorative practice has improved the quality of their lives.