Yoga MS and Rheumatoid Arthritis

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis 15 years ago and found out four years ago that I have Multiple Sclerosis. In addition I had broken my tailbone at age 8 and over the years was in two car accidents, lots of tumbles skiing and horseback riding. Now 62 years old, this didn’t catch up with me until later in life. I have always been active but the RA really curtailed many of my favorite activities. My rheumatologist recommended swimming and yoga. I chose swimming. I was leery of yoga and didn’t understand what it was about.

MS really knocked me for a loop – numbness and tingling in my arms and legs, vertigo, and changes in my cognitive function. My balance was not good – I couldn’t put on panties without sitting down. What do I do now?

A friend referred me to a yoga teacher at our fitness center, so I figured OK, I’ll try it once or twice. I attended one class and loved it. Lynn was the teacher and not at all what I expected. She told me that my yoga practice was all about me and what I could do.

To put it simply, yoga has changed my life. Lynn worked with me, and through recommendations of my doctors – rheumatologist, neurologist, traditional osteopath and primary care, for my yoga therapy. My range of motion has improved so much – I could barely turn my head when I started. Not only is my balance better, but I can stand on one leg in most of the postures. The numbness and tingling have improved and even the vertigo is better.

I love the fact that Lynn adjusts my classes to my specific needs on any given day. If I am super tired and achy, we do restorative poses that relax and stretch my tight muscles and tendons. If my joints are red and swollen, she has me do postures that keep the pressure off these areas and restore energy flow. On the other hand, on good days Lynn pushes me to do poses that strengthen and build stamina.

I have been studying with Lynn for over three years. That first day, little did I know that I was taking the first step to restoring my health, quality of life and inner peace. My doctors are thrilled with my progress and are pushing their other patients to do yoga too. Lynn is wonderful! Janelle (62) Las Vegas

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