Yoga for M.E./C.F.S
Yoga has been developed over many thousands of years to promote good health and has much to offer people with M.E-Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a disease of the nervous system, thought to be caused by either a dysfunction of the immune system or a persistent viral infection. The smallest exertion, physical or mental can induce fatigue, walking up or downstairs; a long conversation can put someone with M.E. in bed for days or cause a major relapse. Short-term memory and concentration can be affected. Symptoms vary from day to day, fatigue is not relieved by sleep, mood- swings, and poor balance, muscle and joint pain are some of the symptoms. There are 160 diagnosed sufferers in Mendip, 900 in Somerset.
Yoga therapy is a gentle way to de-stress and improve flexibility. It is a holistic practice, encompassing body, mind and spirit. It strengthens the body's own self-healing powers, with breathing, meditation and visualisation, which help energise both body and mind, reduce stress and improve concentration, helping you relax and sleep more deeply.
Gentle stretching exercises help to improve mobility, without promoting a relapse, providing 'pacing' is observed. At a mental level relaxation in yoga can lessen fatigue by calming tension and stress in the body. It is particularly good for calming the central nervous system- a problem for many of those with M.E. At a spiritual level, yoga can help to change the perspective of life to enable the student to become more in tune with their body.
It is believed that poor health can stem from energy blockages. Postures-asanas in yoga work on unblocking tensions so that energy, prana, can flow. Inverted postures can encourage blood and oxygen to flow to the brain, helping regulate the thymus gland. Yoga works on the muscles and skeleton but also nerves, organs and glands. Meditation, breathing and relaxation all help relieve stress and promote healing.
Inability to exercise can lead people with M.E. to have problems with lack of muscle tone and poor circulation, leading to more fatigue. Yoga is non-competitive and can be practised by nearly all except the most severely affected, who can still use relaxation and breathing exercises. It is best to join a specialist Yoga for M.E. class or a remedial group, which will focus on deep breathing, relaxation and gentle stretching to slowly build up muscle stamina.
. Students say 'It helps so much, it keeps me flexible. If I didn't come I wouldn't be able to help myself' 'With M.E. I have to live within my limits, I must have gentle exercise and coming to classes encourages this'.