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Top Yoga Poses for MS Patients

May 9, 2016

It has long been known that exercise, and yoga in particular, can be beneficial to MS patients. A recent Rutgers University study found that women with moderate symptoms of multiple sclerosis experienced improvements in balance, walking, coordination, and quality of life after eight weeks of practicing yoga. Here are a few yoga positions that are known to have a lasting effect on multiple sclerosis symptoms:

Mountain Pose with Overhead Stretch- This is a fairly easy position to perform and can be done either sitting down or standing up. Extend the arms up through the spine. Feel your spine lifting from your waist, heart lifted and open, shoulders soft, wide and released down from ears, and crown of head lifting with neck long. Lower it back down and place hands on thigh for support. Pause, breathe, and observe. With an inhale, gently, slowly, with awareness, raise your left arm overhead, as high as you are able to. Continue with the right arm and then again with both arms. Repeat as long as desired.

Forward Bend to Waist Height- This is another position that can be done from a seated or standing position.  Take a deep inhale and extend your spine upward. As you slowly exhale, bend forward toward your thighs, extending from the hips with a long spine. Inhale extending and exhale relaxing. On an inhale, with spine straight, return to sitting/standing up, using your arms to help if needed. If comfortable, bring both arms overhead on an inhale and bend forward on the exhale, bringing your hands onto your knees, a chair seat, or to a wall in front of you. Inhaling with your arms raised, come back to sitting up straight. Lower your arms slowly with awareness, while exhaling. Repeat as long as desired.

Cobra Pose - This pose can be done either seated or lying face down. WHEN SEATED: Sit with your legs together, reach your arms back to hold your hands or wrists or elbows behind your back, or on sides of chair, or interlace fingers behind your head. Inhaling, lengthen up through your spine, arch from your heart area, pull your shoulder blades together and lengthen your neck.  Breathe and get quiet in the posture. Exhaling, return to sitting up straight. WHEN LYING DOWN: Lying on your belly on a yoga mat on the floor, place small folded blanket under your chest across breast line. Place hands palms down on the blanket. Inhaling, gently push the torso up slightly, extending through the spine. Exhale and rest on the blanket.