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For those above...please be SURE you are gong to a yoga teacher with training in your area. Our Fibro group is not experiencing any of worsening symptoms and is 35 people strong. AS for vertigo - a trained teacher should be offering modifications by simply calling it "for those taking it gentler....please come to Ardha Uttanasana....etc" and then she should call the deeper posture. I think the background of your teacher is very important...some folks just run and get a training that is VERY basic...Best to you...dont give up....


I am glad to read about other people learning to practice yoga with health problems. I have Fibromyalgia. I started about 3 years ago to use yoga to strengthen my body, but all I seem to do is add to the pain and fatigue. I workout one day and rest 3 days. Doctors orders are to do half an hour per day, along with walking. I find myself not wanting to do anything because i know how tired I will be at the end of the day. I don't want to be a couch potato. I do mostly twist but now am learning to use plank pose to strengthen my arms and abs. Which poses would you recomend? Thank you


Misty, I can certainly relate to your problems with vertigo during asana. I had to give up my practice (or so I thought) while recovering from several small strokes that caused severe vertigo. I discovered that I can modify most of the asanas using support (a straight back chair can be positioned in any number of ways as a support!) that let me maintain my practice without danger of falling over. I'm actually having fun experimenting with safe ways to complete the poses while trying to engage the correct muscles to get the desired effect. On really dizzy days, I just do seated poses or spend time in meditation rather than exacerbate the symptoms. Yoga is one activity that can be adjusted to accommodate whatever is out of balance in our lives!


I love this article.

I've practiced yoga for a decade and now am unable to enjoy a yoga class because of my chronic back , hip and leg pain.

This is a testament to why we must continue working, inner work.

I've started blogging about my pain and that is a great release!

in health,



Misty, Vertigo could be from a variety of reasons. One common reason is BPPV (google it). This is relatively easy to fix if you see a therapist trained in the technique. You need to see a ENT specialist before that.
You neck pain and posture could also be contributing to the vertigo due to muscle spasm and joint dysfunction in the spine. A good Manual Physical Therapist might be able to help you with this. Rolfing, a form of massage therapy, might help too.
Don't pay too much attention to the MRI report (Not all bulging discs and degenerative spine cause pain - Source Journal of Radiology). What I mean is that, this is not final and irreversible or the cause of all your pain.
Let pain be you guide as you gently get your spine moving again. Good Luck and Namaste!


My reader comment is in response to yoga addict's physical challenge with biceps tendonitus. As a full-time yoga teacher of five years and a studio owner I would like to give addict some loving advice. Yoga addict: If your plan is to become a yoga teacher you should use this situation to research ways to practice, what to practice and how your thoughts and dosha can create pain in the body when we are out of balance. You are most likely creating too much fire activity in your systems through hot yoga, ashtanga and your general approach to the world and you need a gentler, more cooling style of practice to balnce yourself out. If you learn to heal yourself you will have a full bank of information as a teacher and be better equipped to help other people heal themselves. namaste


An excellent comprehensive article. Thank you Yoga Journal and thank you Timothy!


I have many health issues which causes chronic pain (budging disk in low back, degentative disk in C7 of neck, denerative disk in hip/pelvis and hypotension (low blood pressure)) that I know that yoga can help me with. My problem is that I also have veritgo (some say because of low BP, trauma to lower neck and also other issues) most of the poses require bending over which increasing the veritgo spells. I have falling 2 times when I have tried some of the poses. Can any one tell me what I can do?

yoga addict

I was diagnosed with biceps tendonitis. I've been doing vigorous yoga -ashtanga, bikram and such - continuously for over 6 months (5-7 times a week)now that i'm practicing to be a yoga teacher . I know the only way to heal my shoulders is to rest and not use them but i don't want to quit yoga completely for 6 weeks as my doctor recommended. Any advice or suggesions??

Tajul Islam, Dhaka, Bangladesh

I am diabetic and have hypertension. I have been suffering from insomnia as well. Now I am taking some sedative for sleeping along with my blood pressure drug.

I have been thinking of practicing some yogas. I want to know which yogas are safe for me. I should be very grateful for any advice.

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