World Multiple Sclerosis Day is observed worldwide on May 30 every year. The aim of the day is to chiefly raise awareness of multiple sclerosis and bring together those who are living with the condition to share their stories to educate others about this chronic auto-immune disease. The theme for the year 2022 is ‘‘I Connect, We Connect’’ (#MSConnections) and basically it focuses on building community connection, self-connection and connections to quality care.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis, abbreviated as MS, is a neurological condition that chiefly affects the brain, optic nerves and the spinal cord causing a wide range of symptoms. Although the symptoms vary from person to person, the characteristic ones include problems with balance, vision, speech and muscle control causing numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, electric shock-like sensations in the neck, tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait.
The cause of MS is currently unknown, but environmental triggers, genetic predisposition, low vitamin D levels, smoking and childhood obesity may be the possible causes of it. At the moment there is no absolute cure for this inflammatory condition but several ongoing scientific studies and researches are progressing by the minute in the hope of quickly finding one. Treating this condition right now basically involves managing the symptoms and improve overall immunity. Here comes Yoga, your ultimate saviour that not only helps manage the symptoms and inhibit them from progressing but also improve overall immunity.
How Does Yoga Help In MS?
According to a research published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the time-less practice of yoga including synchronised body movements along with breathing techniques can potentially help manage symptoms of multiple sclerosis including reduced depression, reduced fatigue, increased lung capacity, improved bladder function, improved strength and flexibility, decreased pain, lower levels of stress, lower blood pressure, promote muscle relaxation, and uplift overall quality of life.
So, if you are suffering from Ms, worry not, these restorative yoga postures are sure to manage your symptoms and provide relief right away.
Restorative Yogasanas For Multiple Sclerosis
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Stand straight on the ground, with the heels touching each other and feet slightly apart. Keep the soles grounded at all times and your hands straight on either side. Look in the forward direction and hold this position for 5 minutes. Take a minute of break and repeat 3-4 times.
Being one of the easiest yoga postures, this is extremely helpful in combatting neurological issues like depression, anxiety, disorientation and improve body balance and gut health. It also calms the breathing, upsurges awareness, dismisses tension, and enhances blood circulation. Not only does it increase the stamina and energy but also harmonizes the mind and body.
Veerabhadrasana (Warrior pose)
Stand straight on the ground looking in the forward direction. Move your feet about 4 inches apart in the forward direction. Turn your left foot out by 90 degrees and right foot in by about 15 degrees. Lift both the arms sideways till it levels with the shoulders. While breathing out, bend your left knee. Slowly turn your head and look to the left. Keep breathing and stretch your hands further apart. Gently push your pelvis down and hold the posture with the determination of a warrior. Repeat with the other side with the right foot forward. Do it 3-4 times keeping a minute in between for relaxation.
The warrior pose improves balance of the whole body and increases stamina. It provides an amazing stretch to all the muscles and tendons of the body and is truly effective against relieving osteoporosis, sciatica, and infertility. It is also beneficial in managing the symptoms of MS and provides relief from stress and anxiety.
Balasana (Baby Pose)
Get down on your knees, keeping the spine straight. Now slowly bend forwards such that both the thighs touch the chest. Keep bending forwards until your head is beyond the knee and touches the ground. Straighten both the arms backward on either side of your legs with your palms, downwards facing the floor. Be in this position for 20-25 seconds, take few seconds of break and again repeat 2-3 times.
The Baby Pose plays a pivotal role in stretching the entire body including the hip joint and muscles. It readily helps to release tension from the spinal column, shoulders, and hips. Practising it regularly relieves not only stress and anxiety but also preserve calmness to provide a stress-free mind.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose)
Initially, sit about 3 inches from an empty wall. Lie onto the back and swing your legs upwards in such a way that the back of the thigh rests against the wall. Rest your entire back, i.e. the spinal column on the floor below and relax the arms on either side of the body or the tummy. Hold the position for 10 minutes or as long as you can and then slowly pull your leg back to the starting position.
Considered as one of the relaxing poses, Viparita Karani allows you to lie flat on the ground with your legs up without much twisting. This basic pose significantly helps to calm the nervous system, reduce fatigue, increase energy, reduce accumulation of fluid in the joints, and treats conditions like arthritis, sciatica and lupus. Additionally, it also calms anxiety, treats depression and insomnia and effectively rejuvenates the mind and body.
Marjari Bitilasana(Cat/ Cow Pose)
Come up on all fours. Bend on your knees and keep your head straight. Inhale deeply and lift your chin while pushing back your head a bit. Keep your buttocks firm and hold the posture for 30 seconds or as long as comfortable, while breathing deeply. Exhale, and curve your spine upwards towards the sky. Relax your buttocks and arch the back as much as comfortably possible. Hold for some time and repeat the posture for 3 more times.
The Cat-Cow pose is like two sides of a coin. It is essential in boosting blood flow and circulation, which potentially helps in bringing more oxygen to the brain, thus easing some of the pain due to multiple sclerosis. It also helps to warm up the spine, create space between vertebrae, and bring awareness to the curvature of the upper and lower spine. Additionally, it also induces a feeling of relaxation within the mind and body, therefore relieving pain from all the joints.