By Sanjeev Patel
During a typical 200-hour yoga teacher training, interns are so focused on foundational studies that ailments like neurological disorders are barely addressed. Multiple Sclerosis is one of the most common of the many neurological disorders. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease affecting the brain and spinal cord. Lifelong symptoms can vary from patient to patient, but generally include loss of balance and coordination, vision loss, fatigue and lack of muscle control.
People with MS often undergo treatment programs that include both medication and some type of physical therapy. Many patients have found yoga to be a positive form or therapy for gaining strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and confidence. Since their needs are unique, MS patients might be more comfortable taking private yoga training sessions. Yoga instructors should tune in to the needs of the student to provide an individualized program.
Set Goals with Your Client
Sit down with your client before the first session to set some goals. Discuss his or her main concerns and what he or she would like to be able to do better. If the client wants to work on balance, design a routine that focuses on that aspect. Perhaps the client would like to focus greatly on meditation and releasing negativity and anguish over the disease. Follow the client’s wishes as best as possible. You can provide a well rounded routine over time, after the initial concerns have been addressed.
Secure Adequate Props
It’s highly likely that you’ll need to show the client adaptations for many of the postures. Make sure to bring a variety of props for adjusting the poses accordingly. Bring blocks, straps and bolsters and make sure the space you will be practicing in has wall space or chairs available for balance.
One of the most important things you can do for MS patients is teach them the importance of breathing. Deep, deliberate breaths will increase circulation throughout the entire body, causing the nervous system to become calm. Since the nervous system is the main system responsible for many of the symptoms of MS, focusing on the breath can help relieve a number of symptoms from numbness to muscle tension.
Teach Body Awareness
Since MS affects the body in such boisterous ways, it’s very important for patients to become aware of their bodies. As they tune in, they can notice small changes in breathing, tension or stress levels that could potentially lead to larger issues. If the patient can recognize the symptoms immediately, he or she can cut them off at the pass before taking over the entire body. Asanas and breathing will teach patients to calm the mind and listen to the body. When an MS sufferer feels an episode approaching, he or she can employ a yoga posture or breathing exercise to quell it.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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