Yoga for Stress: My Calming Yoga Sequence

Yoga for stress and calming the central nervous system is one of the best benefits it offers. In this sequence, I share several poses to help you to gently activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode).

You can do this sequence no matter your mobility level, simply omit what doesn’t work for you today. This is the beauty of yoga, we can adapt it to fit our needs.

yoga for stress

If you want to learn more about the benefits yoga can offer us, see these posts:

Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue
The Central Nervous System, Restorative Yoga and Fibromyalgia
Yoga Nidra for Fibromyalgia

Yoga for Stress Sequence

This could take as little as 15 minutes “physical” practice plus your yoga nidra. Or as long as 37 minutes plus the yoga nidra. It is flexible. If a pose doesn’t feel right, please omit it. Please move mindfully and remember your breath – it is key to calm.

  1. Start in a comfortable position and focus on your breathe for 1-2 minutes. Coming out of the rush and into your place of calm. Begin with some gentle neck stretches if it feels good.
  2. Alternate nostril breathing is a great way to soothe the central nervous system. Here is the tutorial. Practice for 5 minutes.
  3. Child’s pose is a great calming pose that is also good for gently stretching your body. Here is how to do it. Hold for 3-5 minutes.
  4. From table top (all fours) carefully place each hand forward, one at a time, as pictured for Puppy Pose. Puppy is a gentle inversion (so please avoid if you have uncontrolled, high blood pressure or it just doesn’t feel right) that creates a good stretch and induces a sense of calm. Hold for 30 seconds if you are new to it. If it feels too strong feel free to try on your forearms. Hold for up to a few minutes.
  5. Legs on a chair pose. You can use the side of your couch, a chair (as pictured), or you can use the wall for this one. Hold for 5-20 minutes, as comfortable. As above, if it doesn’t feel right, please avoid.
  6. Finish off with a lovely Yoga Nidra guided meditation. If you’re part of Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio you have a few longer options (you can grab a seven day FREE trial to check it out). Otherwise here is one from my YouTube.

How do you feel? Take a moment to check in with yourself.

If you would like even more yoga designed especially for fibro bodies, please do come and check out the Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio. We even offer a seven day free trial for you to give it a try.

More yoga?

Yoga for a Neck Headache

Seated Gentle Breath Focused Practice

My Favourite Yoga for Fibromyalgia Poses

The 2021 Guide to Managing Fibromyalgia with free download

This guide to managing fibromyalgia is for you. You who have just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. You who are struggling with symptoms and finding little relief.

As a fibromyalgia veteran, someone who has been diagnosed for over a decade, I find myself giving the same advice over and over.

guide to managing fibromyalgia

This post is a compilation to save you research time. It’s not a what is fibromyalgia- this post will give you a better run down of the who, what, where and when introduction.

This is the practical, what do I do next. It’s a lot, so take it one step at a time and bookmark this post so you can come back as you are ready. Catch the free download of these suggestions for reference to help you as you work through them.

I am sorry you haven’t been diagnosed with a “sexier” illness. That there is no one prescribed treatment plan that guarantees cure.

But there are many things for you to try. Loads of which you can enact yourself.

By following all of the things I share on this blog, I have gone from an average of 6-7/10 pain levels daily to 3/10 daily.

It’s been slow and arduous. I have researched it all myself and included my doctor when it involved medications. But the rest has been trial and error in my daily life.

Because most of it is basically a healthy lifestyle on steroids.

The Guide to Managing Fibromyalgia

Become your own driver

The number one thing I’d suggest is becoming your own advocate and information gatherer. Start taking notes or saving electronic ones now.

Read Dr Teitelbaum’s book From Fatigued to Fantastic (2020) and Dr Liptan’s The FibroManual (2016). These will give you a good understanding of the mechanisms that are currently understood about this illness. Their protocols are holistic and easy to understand. Some you need a doctors help with and others you can implement yourself.

I could really stop this post here – if you worked through one of these books, you would be in good stead. Next I will point out the key things that have helped me. Those things I’d start ASAP if I somehow was rebooted back to my diagnosis.

guide to managing fibromyalgia

Low Dose Naltrexone

Low dose naltrexone (LDN) has changed my life. I shared about my experiment here and here. Nearly four years later I am astounded at the change in my quality of life.

It helps with sleep, pain, fatigue, stamina, gut health and so much more. Prior to LDN I slept in one hour blocks and rarely achieved deep sleep. Now I can get up to 15% (the range we need is 12-23%) in conjunction with my sleep hygiene and the supplement I recommend below. It makes a difference as all the good things happen during sleep in our brains.

Read more about sleep here.

Supplements

There are many supplements recommended for fibromyalgia. The best way to target this and not waste money on most of them is to get testing to determine your deficiencies. Learn more about supplements for fibromyalgia here.

One key supplement is magnesium. Another of interest is MSM.

The key supplement I take is Recovery Factors, which is an amino acid supplement. Doctor Teitelbaum offered a study at the end of 2019/early 2020 and I was lucky enough to take part. I got two bottles to trial and it helped me so much I continue to buy it and pay the shipping to New Zealand! Here’s my post about it.

Nutrition

I am not a nutritionist and have no training whatsoever. But I have done A LOT of research.

The only diet I believe in is one full of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. And avoiding your own intolerances (do get on this). Nutrition is highly personalised but one thing is true, we need high quality nutrients and less anti nutrients.

Pacing

You have a certain level of energy available right now. You need to figure out how to live well within these confines so you don’t cause more pain and fatigue.

Pacing has been crucial for me. Here is a training all about it.

Finding a way to rest and counteract the insomnia is crucial.

I highly recommend trying Yoga Nidra guided meditation as a way to pursue true rest for the day time and to help you fall asleep at night.

Download your free yoga nidra guided meditation here.

Or grab the full course here

I’d also recommend looking into restorative yoga for calming the central nervous system.

Find out more about the central nervous system here.

Yoga

You have likely heard or been told exercise is highly recommended for fibromyalgia. Well, yes and no. It is great for us, but only when done within our specific context. No pushing to exhaustion and pain.

For this reason I love mindful slow yoga for gentle movement (and walking). In 2019, after years of practicing (and adapting) yoga for myself and trying to find suitable yoga to recommend to you, I trained myself. I became a yoga teacher, which was a bit of a bucket list dream that I had no idea I could accomplish.

Now my dream is to share these tools with you. Why? Because I use these tools to help me manage my symptoms. And they are available anywhere, anytime you need.

  • Gentle stretches to use as needed in the day.
  • Mindful movement as exercise.
  • Restful poses to induce the relaxation response.
  • Yoga Nidra guided meditation for rest and to help with insomnia.
  • Breathing practices for many benefits including calming the central nervous system.

Can you see why I love it?

The trouble is many of us have been put off it in one experience or another. My goal is to share accessible yoga that simultaneously helps us with our symptoms.

To this end I have the following to get you started:

Never Give Up Hope

The final part to this would be never give up hope. Amidst those long nights of painsomnia (insomnia and pain living together), during flares and when something doesn’t work for you, keep the hope alive.

There are many things to try. And much beauty, even in pain. There is always something to brighten your day. Compile a list of the things that bring you comfort in a flare. Compile a list of things you can do in ascending order of ability (my last idea before just bunkering down to sleep is to listen to a familiar audio book with my eyes closed). This way you can still do something that brings you comfort or joy.

Resource to help you with your plans: The Ultimate Fibromyalgia Wellness Planner

Free checklist of the suggestions in this guide for managing fibromyalgia to help you as you work through them.

I hope this Guide to Managing Fibromyalgia helped you. Please do share it with anyone you think could benefit. And more importantly, please try something and tell me how it went.

guide to managing fibromyalgia
guide to managing fibromyalgia
the ultimate guide to managing fibromyalgia: how I halved my pain and fatigue levels

Get Better Sleep Tonight: My Yoga for Insomnia Sequence

Yoga is a great tool for better sleep, this is my yoga for insomnia sequence. It is a sequence I designed for those nights when you would like to do a little yoga to prepare for sleep but it needs to be gentle, calming and done on your bed.

Sleep is king. It is the foundation upon which my entire healing journey is built. More sleep equals less pain and fatigue. It is not an easy thing to do and I have a whole of life protocol, of which yoga is one part. If you want to really work on sleep, then check out this post.

yoga for better sleep

This sequence draws heavily on poses that come from a style of yoga called Restorative. It was designed specifically for those who were injured or unwell. All of these poses are covered in tutorials and included in classes in the Restful Yoga for the Chronic Life course available here.

Benefits of these poses include:

  • Calming the central nervous system
  • Relaxing the body
  • Helping to induce sleep
  • Gentle stretches

To read more about the benefits of restorative yoga, read this post.

How To Start

You will need a couple of pillows/cushions/bolsters and that is about it! You are most welcome to do this on your bed (mindfully). It can also be done on the floor, on your mat, in a warm and quiet place with the lights low. You want to set the scene for sleep.

yoga for better sleep

Yoga for Better Sleep Sequence

This can be as long or as short as you need. It could be as little as 14 minutes “physical” practice plus your Yoga Nidra. Or as long as 45 minutes “physical” practice plus your Yoga Nidra. You can also omit poses that don’t suit. You could even go straight for steps four and five! The flexibility is endless.

  1. Begin your practice with some centering breathing – simple inhale, exhales. You may like to try the following breathing practices. Alternate Nostril Breathing Practice or One Minute Breathing Practice. Follow this with some gentle stretches for the areas that need it most, for me that is my neck. Cat and cow pose is also nice.
  2. Supported Child’s Pose is the one that made me fall in love with restorative yoga. Set yourself up with as many cushions/pillows/bolsters as it takes to feel fully surrendered into the pose. Here is a tutorial for this pose. Hold for anywhere from 5-15 minutes.
  3. Reclined Child’s Pose is a great follow up, you can add a gentle rock from side to side too. Lying on your back, hug your knees into your chest. Hold for 2-5 minutes.
  4. Legs on a cushion is a great adaptation of Legs Up the Wall, a popular, relaxing pose. This makes it even more accessible. Stack as many cushions/pillows/bolsters as it takes to make your knees higher than your head. Here is a tutorial. Hold for as long as you like! 5-20 minutes.
  5. Yoga Nidra. My favourite yoga tool and a great way to relax down to sleep. Here is a 10 minute one from my YouTube. If you want more, please do come and join the Yoga Nidra for Fibromyalgia course this is where I teach you exactly how to harness the power of yoga nidra for managing insomnia, pain and fatigue.

I hope you enjoyed this! Please do practice it several times in a row to really see benefits.

If you would like more yoga tools, then try the Yoga for Fibromyalgia: Five Minutes A Day Free Challenge then join us here.

yoga for fibromyalgia
sleep better tonight

What is the Best Thing to Take for Fibromyalgia?

What is the best thing to take for fibromyalgia? The answer to this question highly depends on a lot of factors. Supplements or medicines? What are your key symptoms? What else are you doing to manage your symptoms?

I can share my personal experience and research – which I will do below. I will also share some good resources for you to look at other ideas too.

Let me preface this with a couple of things. You cannot take any one thing and be magically cured. There is no cure. You will likely end up with several, whole of life, things in your protocol. For me it includes sleep, pain management, pacing, stress management, yoga and meditation, healthy eating and some supplements and medicines.

You must carefully research the costs vs benefits of any treatment option. You must also discuss medicines with your medical team. This is just to get you started on your journey.

what is the best thing to take for fibromyalgia?

Low Dose Naltrexone – my best thing to take for fibromyalgia

The number one best thing I take for fibromyalgia is low dose naltrexone. This is a medicine that we take off-label (it was designed for another purpose) that helps up to 60% of people with fibromyalgia. I began this medicine in 2017 and after several months I began to experience improved sleep, decreased pain and increased energy. It’s been nothing short of miraculous. And there are very few side effects, most of which are transient.

Here is my one year experiment round up. I share the five ways it changed my life.

You cannot take any one thing and be magically cured. There is no cure. You will likely end up with several, whole of life, things in your protocol.

Recovery Factors

The second best thing I take for fibromyalgia is Recovery Factors supplement from Doctor Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic and someone you should be following.

Find my Recovery Factors review here.

Other Medicines

If you would like to look into the medicines often prescribed for fibromyalgia here are some resources for you. It is worth noting, that the chance of these working, with limited side effects and then continuing to work is relatively low. In other words the likelihood of side effects are high, and the chance they help and continue to help is also low. This is why I tried low dose naltrexone before going down these routes. But for some, they help a great deal.

Check out Why Your Fibro Meds Aren’t Working Post from Fed Up with Fatigue here, it includes the key medicines usually prescribed.

Check out this post about Four Existing Medications That Are Being Repurposed for Fibromyalgia from the same site. It includes low dose naltrexone!

Join my free Five Minutes a Day for Five Days Yoga for Fibromyalgia Challenge to “take” your yoga!

For a long, long time the only thing I had was amitriptyline. Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that help with falling asleep and pain.

Here is my post about going off it.

what is the best thing to take for fibromyalgia, the answer may surprise you

Supplements

I have tried many supplements in my time, and shared about them on this blog. Some ideas that may be of use are:

For a round up of supplements see this post.

For my natural options see this post.

What would be a better place to start than things to take with fibromyalgia?

The first thing we need to tackle is sleep. That is likely going to take several steps including sleep hygiene, supplements and the like. But you can’t reduce pain and fatigue without some sleep.

You may like to consider trying gentle yoga for fibromyalgia – this will help with the central nervous system over activation, pain, fatigue and insomnia. Try this yoga nidra meditation that is great rest.

This has been a full post. I hope you have found some help and some ideas to try. But I also hope you found that it will be a whole of life protocol rather than one thing you can take. For me it includes sleep, pain management, pacing, stress management, yoga and meditation, healthy eating and some supplements and medicines. But it’s all worth it as I have dramatically improved my sleep and decreased my pain and fatigue.

Wavelife Energy Cell Review: Did it Help?

When I was given the opportunity to try the Wavelife Energy Cell I jumped. It is a safe, natural way to relieve pain.

I was gifted the Wavelife Energy Cell through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions shared in this post are my own.

This post contains affiliate links, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.

wavelife energy cell review

The Energy Cell is based on over thirty years of research and development in co-operation with over 2,800 clinics in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. It uses frequency waves. Their website explains it this way, “The energy cell is made possible by a patented EMF material, that can retain and emit Vital Fields with extraordinary durability
(> 6months), thereby allowing the benefits of a proven energy medicine discipline to be accessible to everyone and anyone experiencing pain.” https://wavelife.com/vital-fields/

I don’t pretend to understand this stuff but I do have an open mind at this point. Especially for natural options.

The types of pain listed on their website doesn’t include fibromyalgia. Other reviews (as linked below) say it helped with arthritis pain.

What the Wavelife Energy Cell Helps with

  • Headache
  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle sprain or tension
  • Osteoporosis
  • Post-surgical pains
  • Upper back pain
  • Post-trauma pain
  • It MAY help with migraine (it didn’t for me)

More pain relief articles:

Yoga for Neck Headaches

My top inexpensive items for fibromyalgia

Myofascial pain syndrome

My favourite five pain relief options

My Wavelife Energy Cell

It took some time to arrive due to the lock down but once I received it I found my Wavelife Cell (pictured), instruction booklet and box of 10 adhesive patches.

I preferred to use some soft bandage tape I had in the first aid kit than the stickier patches included so I felt like I had the choice of moving it around easily. You could try kinesio tape too.

You can place this on your upper spine, centre of your chest or foot for systemic pain. I tried all three. You can also try it on areas of localised pain.

wavelife energy cell up close

It is super easy to use and you don’t have to worry about interactions as its completely natural.

Unfortunately having it attached to my upper spine made it difficult to use my heat pack- something I use on my neck frequently.

On my foot it was irritating – I am a bit sensitive to things on my feet.

The lower back position seemed to help the pain associated with hormonal lower back pain (menstrual pains which I experience for much of the month).

So would I buy the WaveLife?

Unlikely, but then it doesn’t specifically state fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome and it didn’t help me with these so the rest is just gravy. Delicious but not something I’d spend money on.

But as we know what works for one doesn’t work for another, so here are some other chronic bloggers who reviewed it too – and some had good relief…

Wavelife Energy Cell Review – because if Donna has written about something I want to read it

The Spoonie Mummy’s Review – recommended for rheumatoid arthritis

Looking for the Light’s Review this person experienced great relief

The Winding Willow’s Review – this person experienced modest improvement

Click here to read WaveLife testimonials from experts and professionals

Would you like to try it?

If you would like to give it a go you can get yours here. They do offer a 30-day no questions asked return policy, if for whatever reason our product did not meet your expectations. So it is a win-win!

Shop WAVELife pain-free Energy Cell

Please note this is an affiliate link, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

I hope this helped.

Do let us know your experience with it!

wavelife energy cell, did it help me

Pathways Pain Relief App: Review

When I was offered a trial of the Pathways Pain Relief App, I had seen these pain apps and been curious for a while. The basis of science and the mind-body connection as a way to help treat chronic pain resonates strongly with me. Clearly, as a yoga teacher!

pathways the pain relief app

When I was offered the opportunity to review the Pathways Pain Relief App, I jumped! I was given a one year trial in exchange for my honest review. Here it is!

A bit about Pathways Pain Relief App:

  • Educational sessions in pain science
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Physical exercises

What can Pathways help with?

According to their website any pain of a chronic nature (lasting three months).

What can you expect from the app?

“We take patients on an interactive journey that starts with pain science education. Understanding that pain is much more complex (and interesting!) than a signal from damaged tissues, is an important step towards turning down the volume on pain.
We then move onto breaking any behaviours that could be keeping your pain system in high-alert. We also cover physical therapy, guided imagery, visulization and mindfulness exercises, hundreds of meditations and more.
Our sessions are audio based and between 2 and 20 minutes long.”

My Experience with the Pathways Pain Relief App

As a busy mama of three children six and under I don’t have the time for full on programme. I do have time for 2-20 minute audio sessions to be completed on my own schedule. In addition there really is nothing to lose, this is all natural and is bound to have relaxation benefits if nothing else. And we can all benefit from relaxing more.

The first thing I went through was the collection of meditations, there is a great selection for pain, relaxation, sleep and more. So that is a great resource.

I went through several of the lessons and then lost steam. It felt a little like we were being told that if we ignore the pain it will just go away. I understand the basis of not focusing on the pain and letting it become part of your identity. I fully understand that the brain is the main cause of the pain in fibromyalgia but I don’t believe you can just push through, ignoring it.

However, knowledge is power, and if you are at the beginning of your journey with fibromyalgia and chronic pain – this is a great way to learn. It is presented in bite sized chunks. Easy for brain fog and to implement.

If education/information is your cuppa you might like:

Myofascial Pain Syndrome 101

Fibromyalgia 101

Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue

pathways pain relief app

Conclusion

The founder had told me that there were some extra resources coming including some physical practices. That is what I was waiting for before sharing this review.

The update is fantastic! My subscription has lapsed so I can’t try everything but it is a great resource.

There’s yoga, physical therapy, challenges, extra masterclasses, guided breathing and more. As a yoga teacher, with my own virtual studio, I don’t need the yoga, breathing or meditation myself!

The masterclasses include How to Sleep Better, Epigenetics: Reprogram Your Genes and Finding the Motivation to Heal. All interesting topics to me.

At $14.99 a month, $69.99 a year or $299.99 lifetime it is worth a try if any of these options appeal. You can also try it free using Google Play or App Store.

Check it out here.

Have you tried the Pathways app? Or one similar? I’d love to hear your experience.

pathways pain relief app

If being practical is your cuppa then you might like these

Calming Breathing Tutorial

Gentle Beginner Yoga for Fibromyalgia Class

Restorative Yoga for Fibromyalgia Class 15 minutes

What Treatments Help Me with Fibromyalgia: As Tested During Lock-down

Here I share eight treatments that help me with fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome. There is nothing like a challenge for a treatment that we think helps to ensure it works. The pandemic has been a good time to test all of my coping mechanisms.

Being at home with three small, high energy boys, much of the time alone, while trying to work 20 hours and manage my health has been a massive challenge.

But here’s the thing. Despite my neck and back being harder to manage -average pain levels went from mild to moderate – I had only one neck migraine attack and that was the first weekend. So what treatments help? What have I been doing?

what treatments help me with fibromyalgia during the lockdown

Here are the treatments that help me the most

Electric heat pad

This has been my best purchase of 2020. Instead of dragging myself out of bed, standing in front of the microwave for the heat pack to warm and then trying to get it in the right spot – I just press a button and have whole back and neck warmth. It’s been the best help.

Physiotherapy

I knew this helped my neck but man it helps my back too. After more than two months without being able to see my physio my entire back and neck were flaring. I also had trigger points in my chest, arms and legs. The acupuncture needles in the neck, shoulders and upper back had flow on effects. So did the ultrasound the physio did on the middle and lower back while the needles were in the top. That feeling of all my back ribs forming a cage on my back muscles and drawing tighter came back. My lower back, glutes and upper legs were tight. Surprisingly, my neck coped alright without the needles. I thought this was a guaranteed truth. So this was a mixed finding and I’m not sure what to do with this.

what treatments are helping me most with fibromyalgia

Self-trigger point work

Following from the above point, my self-trigger point work helped me manage so much better than I thought. With the additional computer work with my new job I was needing to manage trigger points in my SCM. This one I tilt my head to the side and rub down, pressuring trigger point I find on that tight wire like muscle. My upper trapezius trigger poibts required a lot of work between my hands and theracane massager.

Regular dynamic stretches

These have been the best learning ever. After years of static stretching doing little for my neck, my dynamic stretches for my neck are so useful for keeping those neck trigger points in check. It also helped me notice where the trigger points are restricting range of movement so I can tackle them first.

Yoga, meditation and breathing (three treatments that help in one)

When we first went into lock-down my chest was constantly heavy and tight – not from being sick, from the anxiety of the situation. Take the ability to plan from a person who uses strict planning to survive and you get the perfect breeding ground for anxiety. My breathing practices got me through this.

Each day, after lunch, I have done my guided meditation. I have had about 45 minutes of decent rest and relaxation. It has helped a ton. It is my favourite tool.

My yoga practice hasn’t really looked like a class. It’s looked like cat and cow whenever I need it and some puppy thrown in for some upper body tightness. It’s looked like doing downward dog, cat and cow and forward bend with an 18 month old climbing under me. I have used these tools and used them well.

Want to give yoga a go? Join my free challenge! Yoga for Fibromyalgia: Five Minutes a Day for Five Days.

yoga for fibromyalgia challenge

Avoiding white flour

Oh how this is something that works for my tummy. In the beginning of lockdown here we were limited to two breads per shop and there was no flour. So I found a 20kg bag of white flour. And proceeded to bake to my son’s heart’s content. And ended up with a very bloated sore tummy. I stopped eating it and was fine again!

Gentle walking

We have managed to start taking a walk everyday. It feels so good to be able to. I feel strong and so happy to now walk for 30-45 minutes. With no hangover pain (stretching afterward). It helps to be outside and to move these muscles and gentle walking has always been soothing to my upper body trigger points (don’t ask me how).

Sleep

I have always said sleep is king and I will continue to do so. We cannot be well and continuously sleep poorly. My sleep hygiene routines, walks, yoga, meditation, breathing, low dose naltrexone and magnesium all help me sleep. Even when my neck is interrupting me multiple times a night I am sleeping in blocks of a few hours which makes all the difference.

You will note that many of these are reactionary to trigger points – the trigger points are related to mechanical things like using the computer but they are also worsened by things like the central nervous system flaring (hello stress). Many of these also target more than one symptom, I am nothing if not efficient, which is why I adore yoga and sleep.

Share with us- what treatments help you? What have you confirmed over this time?

Want unlimited access to yoga made for fibro bodies? Join Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio!

yoga and meditation for fibromyalgia

Breathing, the Nervous System and Fibromyalgia

Breathing. It’s not sexy. It’s super subtle. Everyone does it every day. But we need to do it better. Optimal respiration can help us to calm the central nervous system and manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia better.

breathing, the central nervous system and fibromyalgia

So many people do it incorrectly. Not breathing fully, chest or mouth breathing and more.

Correct breathing is vital so that we can take the benefits it offers.

breathing well saves energy, improves energy, reduces pain and tension, helps us to activate the "rest and digest" response and more

Breathing well:

  • Saves energy
  • Improves energy
  • Reduces pain and tension
  • Helps us activate the “rest and digest” mode or the parasympathetic nervous system
  • Improves digestion
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces heart rate
  • Decreases stress
  • Improves cognitive function
https://youtu.be/9_AUMn8Cnrg

It can help respiratory issues, back and chest pain

“One of the benefits of breathing deeply is that it helps to release tension in the diaphragm and primary breathing muscles, relieving many long-term respiratory issues such as asthma and breathlessness. It opens up the chest, releasing tension from the intercostal muscles and around the scapula, erector spinae and trapezius muscles, allowing for a more relaxed posture.” From the article The Benefits of Breathing Deeply

breathing, the central nervous system and fibromyalgia

It helps us activate the parasympathetic nervous system and helps us to calm down

Just a few deep breaths can help us to relax and calm down. Even if we have been anxious, scared or in pain. It is the quickest tool in our arsenal to respond to stress. Please note I am not saying it can cure anxiety or depression – I am saying it can help (as an adjunct to treatment with your medical team).

Just a few deep breaths can help us to relax and calm down. Even if we have been anxious, in pain or scared. It is the quickest tool in our arsenal to respond to stress

Would you like a free, simple yoga for fibromyalgia challenge to fit it into your daily life? Sign up here.

It improves the cardiovascular system

“Deep diaphragmatic breathing tones, massages and increases circulation to the heart, liver, brain and reproductive organs. In one study of heart attack patients, 100% of the patients were chest breathers whose breathing involved very little diaphragm or belly expansion. Another study found that patients who survived a heart attack and who adopted an exercise regime and breath training afterward experienced a 50% reduction in their risk factor of another heart attack over the following 5 years.”

From the article The Benefits of Breathing Deeply

What does this mean for fibromyalgia?

All of the benefits that optimal respiration offers us are essential for people with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. We need to save energy, get more energy, reduce pain and tension, activate the rest and digest mode and all of the rest of the benefits mentioned earlier.

It is also easy to learn. And practice. Below we will talk about what breathing well is and my easiest recommendation for breathing. I have a couple of breathing practices for you on YouTube. But you will get a whole heap of breathing support in Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio. Starting with Breathing 101 module, continuing with pretty much every single yoga and meditation practice focusing on the breath. Breath is central to yoga.

inhale, feel the air fill your lungs and expand your abdomen. Exhale slowly. Breathing practice from melissavsfibromyalgia.com

So what is breathing well?         

Using your nose and not your mouth, filling your abdomen and not your chest. Taking the time to focus on it each day. Focusing on it is actually the simplest meditation you can do!

What is my easiest recommendation for breathing?

Inhale for four, pause for two, out for six. Adapting the numbers to what works for you, focusing on making the exhale slightly longer than the inhale. For example inhale for three, pause for two, out for four.

In the video below I share this simple practice

Look at breathing and other yoga tools to help you in this free challenge

Pacing with Fibromyalgia Part Two

Pacing is a key concept for people with fibromyalgia and other chronic fatigue-based illnesses. We hear about it all the time. But how do we actually take it and use it in our daily lives to help us to improve our quality of life?

If you missed Pacing Part One, check that out here.

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Pacing with Fibromyalgia Training Video Part Two

In this second part of the pacing training series we talk about how pacing can look practically in your life – the different parts of your life you can use it. From work hours, to exercise, to managing your energy across the day. We also talk about the difference this has made for me.

In this talk we are going to talk look at what my pacing includes (all of the things you can consider and use the idea for). What the point of it is.
As we said in the first talk, pacing is a broad tool that we can apply every day.
It applies to the whole of life balance, how many hours total we work/volunteer etc. It applies to how we manage our activities during the day. How we approach exercise etc.

What is this all in service of? What is my main aim?

As much symptom reduction as possible!
My biggest aim in life, besides being a good mama and helping as many people as I can with my work, is the least pain and fatigue possible.

What has pacing done for me?

  • Sleep better, the less overtired I am the better I sleep. If I’ve had my rest breaks, relaxed in the evening and gone to bed at a decent time I sleep much better than if I don’t. Fun fact: I sleep the worst on days when I haven’t rested and go to bed late, that sleep reverse psychology doesn’t work here!
  • Reduced pain – by taking my rest breaks and adhering to my framework I experience less pain. Especially by limiting computer time.
  • Less brain fog and overwhelm.
  • More enjoyment.
  • Better quality of life.

Want to try some pacing in your exercise? Give yoga a go in just five minutes a day! Join the free challenge Yoga for Fibromyalgia now.

Check out my previous posts on pacing

A confession on pacing and boundaries

Patigue and Energy – the Fibromyalgia Framework series

The perils of pacing

Do you want some help with the rest portion of your pacing? Join us for the free workshop all about the a super restful type of yoga. 

Hey friend! Are you new here? Would you like some further reading?

The Ultimate Guide to Managing Fibromyalgia

My favourite books about fighting fibromyalgia

Yoga for Fibromyalgia Practice Guide

Pacing for Fibromyalgia Part One

Pacing is a key concept for people with fibromyalgia and other chronic fatigue-based illnesses. We hear about it all the time. But how do we actually take it and use it in our daily lives to help us to improve our quality of life?

your guide to pacing with fibromyalgia

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

The Pacing for Fibromyalgia Training Video Part One

We we talk about what pacing is and why we should be doing it.

Pacing is a crucial concept to get when living with constant pain and fatigue. Finding and utilising the energy envelope we have can help us to avoid unnecessary higher levels of pain and fatigue.

Almost every man and his dog who write about managing fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome recommend it, and they are right, but what on earth does it mean? How does it have practical applications in our life?

I’m a big fan of the Fast and Furious movies (it’s Vin Diesel for me all the way, just FYI) and they live their lives a quarter mile at a time. As a New Zealander I can’t properly visualise what that means (we talk kilometres) but as a chronic illness fighter I get living a moment at a time.

When I get up I am generally coping until baby’s nap so I can meditate. Yoga nidra guided meditation is my best bet for true rest and relaxation. After that I’m coping until bedtime. Those are the markers that frame my day. Want your own Yoga Nidra meditation to download and use, grab it here.

How to start pacing? Ascertain your baseline. You can do this by tracking your symptoms.

Affiliate notice: Some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using my link, I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Every little bit enables me to keep making these resources.

Pacing means aligning what we do with our energy and symptom levels.

Homework

➢ Write down what you do each day and track your pain and fatigue levels – look
for the patterns over a two week period.
➢ If you have a pedometer or Fitbit or other kind of activity tracker that can be
useful for helping you to find your ideal energy envelope.
➢ Listen to what your body is telling you. Grab an empty piece of paper and a pen
and free write about your ideal day, see what your intuition is telling you.

Links mentioned:

The CFIDS rating scale so you can find out where you are on the scale

Their free activity tracker to help you get started tracking your baseline

Pacing is a valuable tool for managing chronic pain and fatigue but what on earth does it mean in practical terms? We find out over this three video training series. Parts one and two are coming right here.

Check out my previous posts on pacing

A confession on pacing and boundaries

Fatigue and Energy – the Fibromyalgia Framework series

The perils of pacing

Come and join my free Five Minutes a Day for Five Days Yoga for Fibromyalgia Challenge! Try the benefits of yoga (and paced exercise!) in just five minutes a day. Yep, you can do it!

pacing for fibromyalgia, the concept of pacing transcends those big boundaries like how many hours we "work" but it is an important place to start
Photo by William Daigneault on Unsplash

Hey friend! Are you new here? Would you like some further reading?

The Ultimate Guide to Managing Fibromyalgia

My favourite books about fighting fibromyalgia

Yoga for Fibromyalgia Practice Guide