ME/CFS and Yoga: a match made in heaven

4 Feb

Although I do not have the joy of practising in the serenity of nature as the picture below depicts, I do practice every day (in the comfort of my lounge) and absolutely love it. My love for yoga essentially comes from how good I feel during and after practising. It genuinely really helps me clear my head, ease my myalgia aches and generally feel more refreshed and alive.


So how does yoga help ME/CFS?

Yoga concentrates your mind into your body: onto the posture (asana) you are holding and onto your breathing (pranayama). It brings you into the moment and quietens that constant crazy chatter going on in your mind that saps so much energy. By doing this yoga calms your whole nervous system which reduces your flight or fright stress response, which in turn eases your ME/CFS symptoms. That’s it in a nutshell really. Now I’m not a doctor and definitely not a yoga teacher (I still consider myself very much a beginner) but that’s my understanding of how it works. But to be honest I don’t care how/why it works, just so long as it does!

I’m not saying yoga is some kind of magic bullet cure for ME/CFS, because of course it is not. If only hey? Treating and managing ME/CFS is a giant jigsaw puzzle. But calming your nervous system and your stress responses play a huge part in recovery from ME/CFS, hence the big role yoga can play. That’s without even mentioning that stretching your body through yoga postures eases tense muscles and provides very gentle exercise when more physical exercise is off limits to people with ME/CFS. And that can only be a good thing!

Now let’s be clear, I’m not talking about sweating yourself silly in a Bikram yoga class, nor burning calories with multiple sun salutations in Vinyasa yoga or even putting yourself through a 90 minute class of any description. Given increased activity, not to mention exercise exacerbates ME/CFS symptoms, a yoga practice that is suitable for those of us with ME/CFS has to be GENTLE and RESTORATIVE. This is crucial to yoga being helpful and not a catastrophic hindrance to your ME/CFS symptoms.

The world of yoga can be confusing, there are so many different kinds of yoga out there. But please don’t be put off. Hatha is the most widespread form of yoga in the western world and it is gentle and restorative to boot. It is suitable for all levels and especially beginners. It includes a variety of poses combined with slow and mindful movement, with an emphasis on breath work and relaxation.

I practice yoga every day, just at home, with books and DVDs as guidance. I really do find that it helps ease my ME/CFS. It also makes me feel good about myself, which is so important. To keep this post from becoming an epic essay, I’ll save talking more about my own yoga practice for future posts (ooh suspense!).

If you haven’t tried yoga before I really recommend you do. If it helps ease your symptoms only for a little while, it’s worth it isn’t it? If you practice gently and listen to your body, what have you got to lose? Go on, give it a try, you know you want to 🙂


4 Responses to “ME/CFS and Yoga: a match made in heaven”

  1. The Healthy Epicurean February 13, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    I have suffered from adrenal fatigue for over ten years and yoga in one of the best steps I’ve taken towards recovery…

    • myjourneythrume February 15, 2015 at 10:45 am #

      It’s great isn’t it?! So glad it has helped you too 😊


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