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April 27, 2015
I have a new student with Multiple Sclerosis in my class. She gets around pretty good, because she uses a cane, and she has a folded chair available in class. Hopefully someone has some insight about yoga students with Multiple Sclerosis or anything similar.
Please help me.
April 27, 2015
Yoga Training and Multiple Sclerosis
Yoga classes are popular among people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to help relieve symptoms such as loss of coordination, balance, flexibility, fatigue and increased numbness in legs or arms that are not treated by medication. Coincidentally, many MS patients are women between the ages of 20 to 40 years old, and women often attend yoga classes more than men. Yoga classes should fit the exercise needs of the individual and their physical challenges. After getting a health clearance from their physicians, people with MS need to find a yoga instructor with experience working with MS clients, teaching for at least 10 years or have a medical or physical therapy background. Many Multiple Sclerosis Society chapters offer yoga classes. Instructors can incorporate props such as chairs, pillows, floors and walls to adapt poses for the person with MS, and many poses and stretches can be done in a sitting position. If the student starts to feel pain, the stretches should be stopped. Yoga classes provide a supportive community for someone struggling with the loneliness and depression that may accompany MS.
Yoga stretches and strengthens the muscles, and individuals with MS learn to focus on particular muscles in their body. This decreases their perception of stress or tension in the muscles, and the body starts to relax. Fatigue is also reduced. Poses with an emphasis on alignment help with balance and posture. Focused breathing exercises create a body mind awareness that provide cognitive benefits for those people with MS who have trouble starting and completing tasks. Improved muscular strength, balance and flexibility build confidence for walking and other daily activities.
In a six-month random controlled trial, Sixty-nine people with MS were assigned either to a weekly stationary bike class with home exercises, a weekly Iyengar yoga class with home practice or were in a control group. Assessments were taken at the beginning of the study and after six months. Both the bicycle and yoga classes showed decreased levels of fatigue and increased energy levels compared to the control group. (Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, 2004)
Even if someone with MS is bedbound, yoga exercises can still be performed in bed. Inactivity increases the risk factors for decreased bone density and fractures, muscle weakness, shallow and inefficient breathing and coronary heart disease. Overall, yoga enables people with MS to learn how to live more comfortably with their body and enjoy improved health.
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