Yoga For Multiple Sclerosis – Ayush Prana
Multiple Sclerosis is often believed to be just a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the central nervous system. However, Dr. Prasanth would like to define MS as a Neurological-disease, having multi-system involvement. The disease pathology involves the immune system, psycho-neurological system, endocrine system, and the metabolic system, besides the nervous system. So, essentially Multiple Sclerosis is a neuro-immuno-psycho-endocrine-metabolic disease. And this hinders an individual’s ability to function and move normally. Depending upon the severity of the condition the affected individual might experience gait, vision issues, lack of coordination, extreme fatigue, mood swings, bowel and bladder issues, depression, stress, and anxiety. Practising yoga can be so beneficial as Yoga endeavours to bring harmony within the mind and body, and between the mind and body. It is a common understanding that Yoga offers several benefits that can help an individual to live a healthy life. In this blog, we will see how exactly yoga can help people in managing Multiple Sclerosis.
“Yogic practices… enhance overall well-being and quality of life.” (Woodyard, 2011) And MS patients practising yoga have shown improvement in anxiety, bowel and bladder functions, depression, fatigue, walking issues, weakness, etc., The crucial to understanding the connection between MS and Yoga before going into the topic. Practising yoga is safe, and affordable and may potentially ease the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. It is widely known that practising yoga can promote the healing of any medical condition or diseases like hypertension, asthma, depression, diabetes, and mental stress. It is not a surprise that Yoga can aid recovery even from complicated conditions like Multiple Sclerosis. However, one must understand that yoga alone will not cure MS, it will only support the patient in treating or managing the MS symptoms.
Here are a few Asanas that can help in managing Multiple Sclerosis and its symptoms
1. Mountain Pose – Tadasana
Mountain Pose, also known as Tadasana or Equal Standing Pose, is one of the basic poses in yoga. Simply put, it can be described as the standing pose. It is essential to learn this pose properly as this pose is considered the baseline for many other yoga poses. Tadasana or Mountain Pose enhances the awareness of one’s body and has much more complex benefits in how it helps manage Multiple Sclerosis.
Practising Mountain Pose or Tadasana for up to 10 – 15 min every day can help in treating the symptoms of MS. In Tadasana, it requires you to stand firmly with your feet parallel to one another and look ahead. Practicing this pose addresses the most common problems observed in Multiple Sclerosis can be tackled by improving posture and flexibility, relieving pain, improving agility, strengthening your hip, legs, and back, boosting self-esteem, giving mental strength and enhancing one’s mood are the most common problems observed in Multiple Sclerosis.
2. Warrior Pose – Virabhadrasana
Warrior Pose, also known as Virabhadrasana is a series of postures, representing the mythical warrior Virabhadra. Each set of the Warrior Pose contributes to managing the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Virabhadrasana or Warrior Pose is one of the most common and the most challenging poses in yoga. Practising this asana for 5 – 15 min every day will help in improving digestion, and strengthening the legs and arms; it also increases stamina and stimulates the abdominal organs in patients with MS.
Corpse Pose is also known as Savasana, the easiest pose and everyone’s favourite. This asana is a position of relaxation and rest and this pose is traditionally practised at the end of a yoga session. This asana is the most important restorative asana in yoga that provides complete rest to the body and the mind. In this asana, you need to sleep on your back and de-stress your body and mind, which aids in muscular relaxation, soothes your central nervous system, alleviates tiredness, and promotes digestion. The asana’s key benefits are the restoration and maintenance of mental health and focus, as well as the reduction of anxiety and depression. Addressing these are prevalent symptoms of MS it improves conditions in MS Patients significantly.
Cat and Cow Pose, also known as Marjariasana is the fusion of two asanas or two stretches, that help to warm up and strengthen the spine. Improving concentration and your overall brain function, this pose is synchronization of breath and posture, that is mutually beneficial to the mind and body. In this asana, you need to stand in a table position placing your knees firmly behind your hips and your wrists directly beneath your shoulders. Practising this asana up to 5 – 20 times in a minute (or as many times as possible in 1 minute) will help in increasing flexibility, strengthening the spine, improving balance and posture, relieving stress, and maintaining mental health in people with MS.
Legs up the Wall Pose or Viparita Karani is one of the several “inversion poses” that’s the main function is to Revitalization in its practitioners by providing a variety of health benefits. You need to do this pose exactly how it sounds, you need to lie down on the ground resting your legs against the wall for up to 5 – 20 min every day will help to calm the central nervous system. Holding this posture improves sleep, reduces fatigue, improves digestion, reduces stress and anxiety, and relieves tension and pain in the back in an MS patient. This pose promotes harmony throughout the body’s processes.
We at Ayush Prana, through PAMS therapy (Dr. Prasanth’s Ayurveda for Multiple Sclerosis), provide therapeutic yoga during treatment at Ayush Prana, on a requirement basis. The yoga regime will be customised according to the patient’s condition. Taking into consideration the severity of the condition and the symptoms of MS in the patient, yoga poses will be taught.
We always believe that a person’s health and well-being are determined by the mind, soul, and spirit. This is why we always provide personalized ayurvedic therapy that helps in treating the condition from its root causes and preventing recurrence. And we strongly believe that it is not always the medical therapies that can cure a condition. We also need the support of this extremely subtle science-based spirituality of Yoga, that creates harmony between the mind, the spirit, the soul and the body to help restore health in people suffering from MS.
Woodyard, Catherine. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. Int J Yoga. 2011 Jul-Dec.