MS and Exercise- Yoga For MS

Mandy Crest Health Guide
  • In a recent post, I promised to make more of an effort to exercise regularly. It is time to admit that, so far, I cannot claim success.

    I put in some time at the exercise bike on good days, and I did some stretching on the bad days. Unfortunately, I have had a run on bad days lately. Knowing the importance of exercise, I have not given up on finding the right fit.

    While thumbing through MSFocus magazine recently, I came across an ad for a yoga DVD. It was advertised as  having been designed by and for people with MS. It boasted a beginner level, and even a portion dedicated to yoga while sitting in a chair. Now that sounds like something I can do! One week later, on a lazy Sunday morning, I load the DVD, place my chair in front of the TV, and push the “play” button.

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    Off I go with instructions on how to begin. Soon we are moving on to eye exercises. Exercise my eyes? C'mon, now. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I'll give it a shot. I find it more difficult than I thought. My eyes don't seem to want to cooperate. No matter. On to more stretching. All the while, the voice over reminds me to breathe. Every time she does this, I realize that am holding my breath. That's weird. She also tells me to remember to relax my jaw. My jaw always needs relaxing, so I try to remember.

    When it comes time to put my right ankle on my left thigh, I find that I have far less flexibility than I thought. Nothing wants to move the way it should. Things which once came so easily now seem beyond reach. It is very troubling.

    Alternate nostril breathing is on the agenda. Are they kidding me with this? I attempt to go along, but I find it silly.

    Chanting time arrives and I laugh out loud. I cannot imagine myself chanting, and am a bit disappointed. Have I wasted my money here? I wanted to exercise! Before they get to the final chants, I decide to jump in. Hey, that does feel kind of nice. It is actually very rhythmic and soothing.

    Throughout the DVD, I notice that my breathing is never in sync with the ladies on the video. Inhale, exhale, short breaths, long ones... it's all a jumble of uncontrolled bursts.

    Finally, it is time to visualize a white light six inches above my head. The DVD leads me through a long visualization of this white light coming through my body, bringing goodness, while releasing all things bad. Somewhere in the middle of this white light journey, I get it!

    It is about control. It is about ME controlling my body, rather than the other way around. I am supposed to be the boss, but I have given up my command. I decide that it is time to get back behind the wheel and steer this body.

    Several days later, I find myself doing brief exercises throughout the day, and looking forward to my next session with the ladies. I don't believe I have any marathons in my future, but my journey is underway.


    For more information, visit "You Can Do It: Yoga For MS"

Published On: May 28, 2008