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Yoga and Rehabilitation

By Ishita Parekh
February 5, 2021

Multiple sclerosis is a condition of many conflicts. Conflicts within the body, mind, breath, work, lifestyle, relations, and ultimately, approach towards life.

Yoga works not only at the physical level, but takes you deep within yourself. In September 2017, I was not able to perform Tadasana (mountain pose) for even 30 seconds. I had to keep my feet apart to maintain balance. My body at the trunk was shaking as I tried to stand on my toes, and I’d go off the balance. Finally a year later, I was able to do Tadasana with feet together, on my toes and hands clinched straight above head.

yoga pose tadasana mountain pose

Tadasana (mountain pose)

When I first tried Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand), I had to use many props for support  such as a chair, mat, blanket, bolster and belt back in 2017. Gradually over the period of time, I was able to do this move with minimal support and focus more on my breath.

yoga pose salamba sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand)

Salamba Sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand)

Maintaining each pose requires attention on various parts of body. Slowly that is taking you to stay in the present and minimize chaos in your mind.

In the beginning of 2018, I realized the benefits of yoga in managing my MS symptoms. My fatigue was under control, and I had greater control over my bladder to minimize urinary incontinence.

Even people who live with very limited mobility can benefit from yoga. While yoga won’t cure MS, it can be helpful in managing symptoms, which is enough reason to try it out. As someone with a chronic and unpredictable illness, yoga can help you feel more in touch with your body and help you live more comfortably in it. Yoga improves posture, increases stamina and flexibility, and teaches you how to relax and focus. You’ll also likely see positive changes in your flexibility and strength, even from week to week.

You may not see or feel the benefits right away, but don’t let that discourage you.

Initially for me, yoga was another form of exercise. I was not holding any pose for long. And my breathing was improper, not as it should be. But as I learned, I realized that the pose should be maintained with firmness of body and steadiness of mind.

I had plenty of symptoms, from cognitive to fine movements. But now I am finding improvements in many of my symptoms. “Calm mind is the ultimate weapon against the challenges.”

Editor’s Note: Learn more about how yoga can help you manage MS symptoms on the Society website.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is proud to be a source of information on multiple sclerosis related topics. Unless otherwise indicated, the information provided is based on professional advice, published experience, and expert opinion. However, the information does not constitute medical or legal advice. For specific medical advice, consult a qualified physician. For specific legal advice, consult a qualified attorney.

Ishita Parekh

Ishita is from Valsad, Gujarat, India. She is a physiotherapist and now a yoga practitioner. She was diagnosed with MS in 2008. She came to Pune, Maharashtra to learn yoga in 2017 and has lived independently ever since. She wants to spread a message to go beyond fear and grab the opportunity to know the miraculous creation, our body, mind and self.

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