30 May Finding Yoga with Fibromyalgia – Maeve’s story
Maeve was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which she attributed to a back injury during pregnancy. She wanted to be more comfortable, less tired, and pain free, but was concerned that holding yoga postures and lying on mats would exacerbate her sciatica and sacro-iliac pain.
Maeve’s musculoskeletal physiotherapist recommended Maeve attend Yoga for Pain to help her learn to relax, move safely and manage her pain.
Yoga tailored for fibromyalgia makes progress faster in the long run
Yoga can help relax tight muscles, manage stress and gently re-introduce their bodies to exercise. But many people with fibromyalgia find that even a beginners yoga class is too much.
I had to help Maeve learn to move without making her pain worse, and work through some of her fears.
Yogic education develops physical and emotional awareness
At her first one-to-one consult, I introduced Maeve to concepts of deep body awareness, effortless movement and intentional practice. I helped her perform very small movements in a way that made her feel safe. I also explained the importance of taking your emotional capacity for exercise into account as well as your physical capacity.
With these basics in place, Maeve joined Yoga for Pain group classes and began a home practice. She was gradually able to comfortably attempt more physically challenging postures.
She wrote to me to say:
“This yoga practice has been extremely helpful in improving my general wellbeing and decreasing my experience of pain.”
Changing what it means to be well
At her initial consult, Maeve disclosed that she felt most well when lying in her recliner. Five months later she said “I am most well when I pace myself”, showing she recognised the role she could play in her own wellness.
Now Maeve says she is most well when she has practiced yoga and is doing the things she loves, such as spending time with family and friends and gentle outdoor activities, even though she may not be pain free during these activities.
I realise now that “being well” means acceptance of life as it is now, not as it would be if I were pain free. Yoga practice and concepts of yogic education underpinned this realisation.
Benefits of regular yoga practice show up in tough times
Twelve months after beginning Yoga for Pain, a long car drive caused Maeve’s back to flare up. She couldn’t move.
I ran a guided relaxation for Maeve that helped her find space around her pain. At the end of the session she looked twenty years younger.
Maeve resumed a regular practice on her own, going right back to basics and again gradually building up.
She is now back in group classes with a very graceful practice.
Maeve has also been able to go hiking in Albany and take a flight to China, which continues to expand her sense of what is possible.
Yoga for Pain nurtures all of you, not just the bit that hurts
A specially designed Yoga for Pain practice can calm the stress response, trust your body and increase your range of movement. Yoga for Pain encourages you to monitor your progress: you notice the progress you are making, slowly, rather than everything you can’t do. This confidence extends to your emotional and mental wellbeing, offering hope and gentle support during tough times.