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Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis

I have a student joining my class who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She is fit, and other than stress and fatigue and needing a day to recover from her weekly injections, she has no symptoms. Is there anything in particular I should do to guide her, or any advice I can give her for a home practice that will help her?

—Laurie

Timothy McCall

Read Dr. Timothy McCall's response:

Dear Laurie,

In general in yoga and yoga therapy, we teach to the students in front of us, not to their diagnoses. So if your student is generally fit, she should be able to do a good, well-rounded practice consisting of all major types of asana (forward bends, backbends, twists, inversions, and so on). If she is open to them, other practices such as chanting, pPranayama, and meditation can be helpful in dealing with stress and fatigue and as long-term preventive medicine.

I think it would be also extremely useful for this student to start to learn restorative yoga for those days when she is too tired, dealing with medication side effects, or otherwise unable to do her normal practice. Finally, since heat can interfere with nerve conduction, a problem area in MS, I would recommend that she avoid overheating.

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Reader Comments

Mindy

So true that we teach to the student...not the Dx. I have MS and also have 2 students that are similarly diagnosed. I look at the symptoms (drop foot, weakenss on one side, etc) in the same way i might look at someone who is in general good health with a tight right shoulder..it is the problem child that needs to be encouraged to open. Don't forget the person first before the Dx. The power of the practice to heal a body, mind and spirit is priceless when faced with a disease such as MS that is so unpredictable in it's progression. Carry on, Laurie, it is good work! (and yes, heat IS the enemy here) :)

Justine

Thank you Dr. McCall for reminding us all that we teach to the individual and not their diagnoses. Perfectly said! I am so grateful for all the information I have learned through your efforts and your books....please keep sharing :o)

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