Multiple Sclerosis
MS symptoms are variable and unpredictable.  No two people have exactly the same symptoms, and each person’s symptoms can change or fluctuate over time.  The role of a Yoga Therapist is to reduce symptoms in less acute times of MS and increase time between flare-ups.

Simple postures will be chosen for the physical body that include strengthening and stretching muscles, cross body firing, and balance if tolerated.  Breathing practices will be incorporated throughout to help with potential muscle spasms. Meditation practices will be given to lower stress and benefit cognitive functioning.  Relaxation practices to encourage integration and healing of the entire system.

Irritable Bowel Disease
The two major types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon or large intestine. Crohn’s disease, on the other hand, can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract form the mouth to the anus. 

Breathing practices will be chosen to help balance the energetic body by directing the flow of Prana (life energy) through the body in a specific way.  Physical practices will be slow, moving and breathing, to reduce anxiety. Meditation may be used to increase body awareness, and chanting to elevate mood. 

Lupus & Rheumatoid Arthritis
Lupus is difficult to diagnose because it mimics other diseases and can affect many symptoms.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a type of arthritis in which autoimmunity causes the immune system to attack tissues in the joints, leading to muscle pain, joint deformities, fatigue, weakness, appetite loss, weight loss, and sometimes confinement to bed.

Because RA and Lupus act differently in different people, Yoga Therapy is valuable in that the practices given are custom tailored to the client. When not in a flare-up, physical practices will be chosen to promote range of motion and strength around the joints, relieve pain, decrease inflammation, slow down or stop damage to the joints, and improve over all functioning.  When in a flare-up, more restorative poses will be chosen.

Additionally, meditation skills will be developed to use during flare-ups, breathing practices will be given to reduce anxiety, and relaxation practices will be given to expand the body’s ability to heal.  Research has shown that yoga can have a positive effect on inflammation, improved balance, and reduction of feelings of pain and depression.

Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
From a Yoga Therapy perspective, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia are similar in that they are characterized by exercise intolerance or sensitivity to input.  Additionally, depression can be a co-occurring condition, and anxiety from not knowing one’s capabilities. 

A Yoga Therapy approach may start off with a guided meditation practice to address anxiety, depression and pain management.  Breathing practices to get more pranic (life energy) flow in the system. Progressing to very slow movements within a comfortable range of motion that doesn’t engage stretch receptors too much.