19 Mar Yoga and fibromyalgia – Ellen’s story
Ellen was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 20 years ago. While she didn’t feel that her pain levels were severe, she could see that the constant background pain, tension and fatigue affected much of her life, including relationships, parenting and work.
A regular mindfulness meditation practice had helped Ellen to accept her current condition and find calmness, and she now wanted a better understanding of what her body was capable of.
Ellen’s daughter also experience fibromyalgia and was seeing an occupational therapist who specialised in pain. The occupational therapist recommended Yoga for Pain to Ellen as a way to build her confidence, to help with muscle tightness and to care for her own wellbeing while supporting her daughter.
Slow down to listen to what your body is telling you
Yoga can help those with fibromyalgia to relieve tension through relaxation and mindful movement. But many find their confidence drops when they can’t manage even a simple class. Ellen knew that she needed to build her confidence and self-compassion through a gentle and nurturing practice.
Set goals and track your progress
Before attending her first consult, Ellen completed a diagnostic form to articulate her own motivations and goals for wellbeing. Over a series of four sessions she practiced the foundations for effortless movement: relaxation, whole body awareness and mindful movement. We also worked together on a workable home practice and discussed the effect the practice was having on her daily life.
At the first session when Ellen found some simple movements quite challenging, she realised she had been fighting a lot with the fear to go into her body. She set the simple goal to “Be mindfully with my body on a regular basis and see what happens.”
By practicing this daily, she was able to build on this goal at her second session the following week. Her intention was “to put vitality into relationships”.
Ellen started to notice small things: she was relaxing her shoulders at work and managed to apply the principles of effortlessness to walking. “I’m learning to recognise the point of not too little, not too much” (a perfect balance of the yogic yamas, ahimsa and satya).
Ellen now attends regular general yoga classes and her practice is getting more and more physical.
When you care for yourself you have energy for others
“I can see that when I give myself permission to rest, I’m not worried about things getting done. This means I actually get more things done because I’m not reacting to exhaustion. This leads to a better relationship with myself and my family and life is more beautiful.”
When someone diagnosed with Fibromyalgia is able to be comfortable with the discomfort of fatigue and pain, they are better able to rest and care for themselves without worry.
When you care for yourself, your vitality expands to the people around you.