Legs on a Cushion for Fibromyalgia

Legs on a cushion for fibromyalgia is my simplest, quickest way to get some restorative yoga in and it can be done in bed.

I am not kidding.

When I am not pregnant, and therefore allowed to lie on my back for prolonged periods of time, I do this pose right before I go to sleep.

Restorative yoga is a type of yoga that is passive, designed to calm the central nervous system and induce rest and relaxation. It is incredibly accessible, which is why I love it so much.

Legs on a Cushion for Fibromyalgia

How did that make you feel?

Hopefully super relaxed. Maybe you caught a nap afterward? That would be fab feedback to hear.

If we haven’t met yet, I’m Melissa, and I am passionate about sharing the tools of yoga for fibromyalgia with you. I use these tools myself every day to manage my pain, fatigue, insomnia and basically feel a little better. If you’d like to learn more check out the following:

If you would like to commit to five minutes a day, you are invited to join the free challenge Yoga for Fibromyalgia Five Minutes a Day

yoga for fibromyalgia challenge

For unlimited access to yoga designed especially for fibro bodies, come and join Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual yoga studio. We have bed, chair, meditation, strengthening, restful yoga and more.

But if you really want to go all in for a full restful yoga program that includes an entire module on using it to help with sleep – then check out Restful Yoga for the Chronic Life. It’s entirely self-paced and you can get started now.

Would you like to learn more about yoga for fibromyalgia?

Yoga for Fibromyalgia

The Central Nervous System, Yoga and Fibromyalgia

Managing neck headaches with yoga

My favourite poses

What yoga is best for me today quiz

legs on a cushion for fibromyalgia

Supported Child’s Pose for Fibromyalgia

If you have been around for a while, you may have noticed that I have a thing for supported child’s pose. Well, child’s pose in general. But the supported version has a special place in my heart.

Restorative yoga is a passive practice that helps to calm the central nervous system and is therefore super relaxing. From the first pose I tried, supported child’s pose (!), I was hooked.

Below is your opportunity to give it a try. You will want two or three cushions/pillows/bolsters to make a comfortable bed to relax into as pictured. The aim is to relax fully, so you don’t want your body to be “holding” you want it to be supported.

Feel free to play with the set up and hold for as long as is comfortable.

Try Supported Child’s Pose Right Now

How did this make you feel?

Hopefully relaxed, calm and ready to give more yoga a go. I have heard from way too many people that they were put off by yoga previously. I don’t want that for you.

If we haven’t met yet, I’m Melissa, and I am passionate about sharing the tools of yoga for fibromyalgia with you. I use these tools myself every day to manage my pain, fatigue, insomnia and basically feel a little better. If you’d like to learn more check out the following:

 


If you would like to commit to five minutes a day, you are invited to join the free challenge Yoga
for Fibromyalgia Five Minutes a Day
.

yoga for fibromyalgia challenge

For unlimited access to yoga designed especially for fibro bodies, come and join Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual yoga studio. We have bed, chair, meditation, strengthening, restful yoga and more.

Would you like to learn more about yoga for fibromyalgia?

Yoga for Fibromyalgia

The Central Nervous System, Yoga and Fibromyalgia

Managing neck headaches with yoga

My favourite poses

What yoga is best for me today quiz

Supported childs pose for fibromyalgia

Seated Breath-Focused Yoga for Fibromyalgia Class

Would you like to try a gentle, seated, breath-focused class that is designed especially for people with fibromyalgia?

I have just the class for you. It will take just six minutes and you don’t need any props.

You can give this a go at any time of the day, as a quick begin your day practice, during your lunch break, after work or whenever you want to get some gentle movement in.

Seated, breath-focused yoga for fibromyalgia

How did that make you feel?

Hopefully relaxed, calm and ready to give more yoga a go. I have heard from way too many people that they were put off by yoga previously. I don’t want that for you.

If we haven’t met yet, I’m Melissa, and I am passionate about sharing the tools of yoga for fibromyalgia with you. I use these tools myself every day to manage my pain, fatigue, insomnia and basically feel a little better. If you’d like to learn more check out the following:

If you would like to commit to five minutes a day, you are invited to join the free challenge Yoga for Fibromyalgia Five Minutes a Day.

For unlimited access to yoga designed especially for fibro bodies, come and join Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual yoga studio. We have bed, chair, meditation, strengthening, restful yoga and more.

seated breath focused stretch for fibromyalgia

Would you like to learn more about yoga for fibromyalgia?

Yoga for Fibromyalgia

The Central Nervous System, Yoga and Fibromyalgia

Managing neck headaches with yoga

My favourite poses

What yoga is best for me today quiz

Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue: What it is, isn’t, how I use it and you can too

Yoga for chronic pain and fatigue, it seems to be recommended a lot. It can be a really excellent addition to our whole of life plan when managing chronic pain and fatigue. But so often, people have the wrong idea of what yoga means or what they have to do in order to do it. Or, worse, they have been put off by previous experiences.

In this post I will share what yoga is not, what it can be, guidelines for practicing with chronic pain and fatigue and how I use the tools in my every day life (yes I use the tools everyday). I also share how you can try some yoga designed especially for chronic pain and fatigue for free, so read on.

yoga for chronic pain and fatigue. woman practicing gentle yoga with fibromyalgia

Let me first spell out what yoga for fibromyalgia is not.

  • It is not 60 or 90 minute classes – it is not defined by the length of time you practice.
  • Nor is it defined by what poses you can do and how far into them you go.
  • It is not even limited to your physical practice – you can “do” yoga by lying on your bed breathing or meditating.
  • You do not have to subscribe to a “lifestyle”, set of beliefs or a religion to “do” yoga.

What can yoga for chronic pain and fatigue be?

  • A set of tools you dig into when you need them.
  • Mindful movement.
  • Rest and relaxation.
  • Whatever the heck you want.

Join the free Five Minutes a Day for Five Days Yoga for Fibromyalgia Challenge here to try it for yourself!

yoga for fibromyalgia challenge

Guidelines for practicing when you have chronic pain and fatigue

1. Listen to your body. This is absolutely key, in a world where we are trained to push through and ignore our cues, you must listen in yoga. If you are feeling particularly fatigued then perhaps breathing, meditation or a restorative posture might be best for today.
2. Pay attention to your body. How does a movement feel? Should you pull back? Is a certain posture for you right now?
3. Start slow.
4. Frame practice with breathing and rest. After all my research and practice, I would say the ideal practice for fibromyalgia is gentle breathing, gentle poses, followed by a restorative pose and a good yoga nidra meditation.
5. It’s not linear. You won’t necessarily do five minutes today, seven minutes tomorrow, 30 minutes in six months. You may do 10 minutes of physical practice today, meditation tomorrow, 5 minutes of physical practice the next day and then 20 minutes of restorative postures the next. We are on a journey with our body not with our type or length of practice.
6. It should not hurt.

What does my yoga practice look like?

My daily yoga for chronic pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia, schedule

Here is a sample of my daily routine:
7.15am 5 minutes standing sun salutations when I get dressed
Neck stretches and cat and cow pose randomly throughout the day
1pm 40 minute yoga nidra guided meditation
Deep breathing breaks as needed
9pm a couple of poses by the bed, legs on a cushion pose in bed, body scan meditation.

Let’s look at when the tools of yoga could be useful for you

Deep breathing – whenever you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, sore, anxious. As a pick me up.
Meditation – first thing in the morning, during a rest, in a flare, after work, before bed, in the middle of the night when experiencing painsomnia.
Physical postures – as needed throughout the day, in “classes” a few together for 5-30 minutes, one off restorative postures for rest/rejuvenation.

What are some of the benefits of yoga practice?


For more research on this see this post here Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue, here is a summary:

  • calms the autonomic nervous system
  • help with sleep
  • reduced fatigue
  • reduced pain
  • increased physical capacity
  • decreased myofascial pain
  • less anxiety
  • reduced depression
  • relaxation
  • mindfulness of movement
  • awareness of proper alignment

Of course, it is not from one or two practices. We see the best results over time. Ten minutes a day is far better than one hour every day for a few days until you cause a flare and then never do it again!

Perhaps the most important benefit – at least for me – is the power. I can use these tools anytime, anywhere. I don’t need to wait for an appointment, I can employ them how I like and when I like. Forever. These tools are mine. And side-effect free, provided I practice safely.

Would you like to try some yoga designed especially for people with fibromyalgia?

I have a few options for you.

  • Try my Five Minutes a Day for Five Days Challenge for free
  • Check out some of my free classes here
  • Jump in and give it a good go in the Yoga for the Chronic Life studio here. We have breathing practices, slow flow practices of varying lengths, restorative practices of varying lengths, meditations and more. I add new classes monthly. I also periodically create challenges/plans to guide practice. There are several toolkits which you can work your way through as well – including the Bed Yoga Toolkit, the Chair Yoga Toolkit and the 10 Day Beginners Toolkit. The Foundations of Yoga for Fibromyalgia full course (value $199) is in there too.

So tell me, have you tried yoga, does it help you?

Yoga for Neck Headaches in Fibromyalgia

Recently I’ve come across many people who, like myself, struggle with headaches caused by neck (and shoulder) tension. Specifically from trigger points.

A few of the members in the Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Membership Team expressed avid interest in yoga for neck headaches when I mentioned it there.

So I shared my routine – what I have been doing to manage neck-caused headaches. This routine is the further development of one I was already doing to manage between physiotherapy appointments. When, all of a sudden, I was stuck at home with three small children, a new job that required me on the computer for 20 hours per week and no access to physiotherapy – I had to step it up in order to cope.

My team loved it.

So I created a 10 minute version for you all to try.

Yoga for Neck Headaches Video

Please remember that, no matter how gentle the sequence, you do need to be cleared to exercise by your medical team. Move mindfully and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

We utilise gentle yoga, breathing and meditations in this practice (and all of my practices).

Come and join my free Five Minutes a Day for Five Days Yoga for Fibromyalgia Challenge today!

Other articles that may help you

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points and Fibromyalgia

Restorative Yoga, the Central Nervous System and Fibromyalgia

Micro Yoga for Fibromyalgia

Let me know, how did you find it? What do you do for headaches caused by upper body muscle tension and trigger points?

This is just one of the ways in which I am making practical tools for my members to help them in their journey. If you want to join us – you can do so in the Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio here.

yoga for a neck headache
yoga for a neck headache

My Favourite Yoga Poses for Fibromyalgia

Let’s talk about my favourite yoga poses for fibromyalgia. As a yoga practitioner and a teacher I have a few poses I come back to again and again in mine and my student’s toolkit.

These are great standalone poses that have a prominent place in my toolkit and my students are loving these too.

Some of my favourite yoga tools for fibromyalgia

As you can likely tell, there are a multitude of tools on offer from the yoga toolkit and I use many. It is hard to narrow it down so in this post, I share just six.

Supported childs pose

My favourite version of this pose is supported child’s pose, but even usual child’s pose is a great restful pose. It gently stretches the lower back and shoulders (if you take it extended). Placing your forehead on the ground will calm you down. This pose comes from restorative yoga, a lovely, gentle yoga style that is great for calming the nervous system.

legs on a chair for fibromyalgia

This is such a great introductory restorative pose. One prop required. It is very calming and can be replicated with pillows/cushions/an ottoman, anything to raise those legs a little. Relieving pressure in our legs can be a nice bonus here. Place your neck on a flat pillows/cushion/folded towel if you find it uncomfortable.

cat and cow for fibromyalgia

While they are stand alone poses, I like them together, they are the perfect counter pose to each other and a great way to mobilize the back and neck. I use this regularly throughout the day. Not only does the physical movement help my body but matching the movement to my breath and moving mindfully helps my mind. It’s calming and relaxing.

forward fold for fibromyalgia

Forward bend is so great for a gentle neck and back stretch (as well as the hamstrings). I was using it for gentle neck tractions between physiotherapy appointments before I knew what I was doing (using yoga as tools).

Other posts of interest

Yoga for Fibromyalgia Giant Post

Micro Yoga for Fibromyalgia

Restorative Yoga, the Central Nervous System and Fibromyalgia

What does it mean to “do” yoga

eagle pose for fibromyalgia

Eagle is really great for helping out the upper back (a key problem area for fibromyalgia, desk workers and almost everyone). In Foundations of Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue we work through this pose as a journey because there is so much space in this pose for us to grow.

This is great if you’re not getting onto the floor and want to stretch your lower back. You could use this as a standalone pose, as part of a sequence before bed, in bed and first thing in the morning.

Do you want to try some poses yourself? Join my free challenge – Yoga for Fibromyalgia: Five Minutes a Day for Five Days!

yoga for fibromyalgia challenge

So these are my favourite poses for fibromyalgia. What are yours?

How Micro Yoga Helps Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia Plus Your Toolkit

Micro yoga is such a good tool for managing chronic pain and fatigue. The benefits of yoga are continually being proven in research, especially for chronic symptoms. I want to share what micro yoga is, how micro yoga helps me as a mama with chronic pain, fatigue and insomnia and tiny children and how you can use the tools too.

how micro yoga can help chronic pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia

What is micro yoga?

It is simply yoga that is not a traditional length or what we typically (in the west) think of as “yoga”.

I literally do 5-30 minute snippets at a time. As a person with chronic symptoms I find it much better to do 10 minutes regularly than one hour once a week.

I’d take it one step further and call my yoga super accessible micro yoga. When done right, yoga is super accessible for us and what we need.

What does this look like?

  • Five minutes of asana (stretches) when I am getting dressed.
  • A random pose to help my back when it is feeling tight during the day.
  • Five minutes of breathing when I am feeling overwhelmed.
  • 30 minute meditation after lunch.
  • 10 minute body scan relaxation before bed.
  • A restorative yoga pose on my bed during a flare.

How can we use it?

Micro yoga can be one or two poses that you use as needed. Or a more formal practice on the mat for 5-45 minutes. It could even be a breathing break or rest guided meditation.

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Rachel Scott is a yoga teacher who gets it. In her book Little Book of Yoga Practices: Daily Relaxation, One Asana at a Time (2019) she talks about micro practice:

“By weaving micro practices into your everyday life, you will:
Cultivate a consistent yoga routine that won’t overwhelm your busy schedule
Have the tools to reset your mood and energy with just a few breaths
Feel empowered by the quality of your self-care
Recognize that small acts can make a major difference in your physical and
mental health.”

I use micro yoga as part of my toolkit for managing pain and fatigue.

Where do we learn it?

Rachel’s cute book has some great micro practices to try. I was given a complimentary copy by the author. I also got a copy of her latest book Yoga to Stay Young: Simple Poses to Keep You Flexible, Strong and Pain-Free – which I absolutely adore. Both are great guidebooks to keep on hand.

You might like the targeted stretches section starting pg 65. The best part of The Little Book of Yoga Practices is the succinctly described pose section. You can see what resonates and try one or two at a time.

The one minute miracles section is a gold mine! Pg 82

Rachel might not specialise in yoga for chronic pain and fatigue but her books are great resources when you are trying to build a micro yoga practice. And the size of The Little Book of Yoga Practices means it isn’t going to be hard on the old brain fog to get through, it is succinct and easy to follow.

Your Toolkit

Join us for the free Yoga for Fibromyalgia: Five Minutes a Day for Five Days challenge.

yoga for fibromyalgia challenge

Would you like to try a relaxing pose right now? Here you go…

Legs on the cushions is a super accessible pose with a short guided relaxation you can do this on your bed!!

Would you like unlimited access to yoga made for fibro bodies every month? Join us in Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio.

yoga and meditation for fibromyalgia

What Does it Mean to “Do” Yoga, What Can it Look Like?

I am super passionate about sharing the tools yoga offers with people with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia. The thing that often gets in the way is what people think it means to “do” yoga.

Today I am going to share with you all sorts of raw pictures of me “doing” yoga because I want you to start to get a sense of the fact that “yoga” has been usurped by the perfect poses on Instagram. If you have a teacher who gets your situation, then they can help you adapt yoga to your needs.

A visual representation of the below points:

  • Yoga can be adapted for almost anybody (if you have been cleared to move gently and the teacher “gets” your needs)
  • Breathing is a central part of yoga (and many of us don’t do it optimally)
  • Meditation is my favourite part of yoga (yoga Nidra guided meditation is my jam, I do it in bed with my heat pack)
  • You can do one pose
  • I have several poses I enacted whenever I need them during the day
  • Chair yoga is a great way to make yoga more accessible
  • You can do yoga in bed
  • Classes can be 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes or more
  • You don’t need to be super bendy, in fact, I am not

For the benefits of yoga, why I do it and more check out my post about Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue here.

Breathing

Me simply breathing, in hero pose (with a baby about to climb on my back, life). Breathing is one of the most accessible parts of yoga and really helps me to calm down when feeling overwhelmed.

A little more challenging

Me at the very beginning preparation phase of maybe one day doing crow pose (where you lift your feet off the ground)

Relaxation and meditation

This is the final relaxation of many classes, or an excellent standalone pose. This is complete rest. You can add all sorts of things to make it more comfortable, usually I have a blanket or cushion under my legs to help my low back.

If you are curious about restorative yoga (a passive, very gentle practice) then come and check out this free workshop Restorative Yoga for the Chronic Life.

restorative yoga for the chronic life

One that can be done in bed

You can do this on your bed (I like to do it as part of my bedtime routine)

A multi use tool

I am known to do this pose all the time. It is child’s pose, it rests the lower back and calms the mind. You can do it facing up on your bed (hugging your knees), with a bolster between your legs under your chest/abdomen to make it restorative. When the kids are overwhelming me or I’m feeling really tired, then I’ll drop where I am and do it. Often the kids follow!

Adapting to my needs

Using a block to bring the ground closer to me. I am not super bendy!

#notabouttheperfectpose

This is my son doing this pose not at all correctly but he is enjoying it and not in danger of hurting himself so I encourage him to play with me when I do yoga.

Using the chair

Me doing a chair sequence. I love using a chair because it means I don’t have to get on the floor. It also means I can do some of the poses in the car when I am not feeling so nice and on the edge of my bed if I am awake in the night.

My all time favourite that can be done almost anywhere

Me doing seated cat and cow – I do cat and cow all the time, in my favourite chair, on the side of the bed, in the car, on the floor and in my classes

I hope this gave you a sense of how “yoga” can look and hopefully hope that, if you want to, you could try it in one way or another.

Show me how yours looks

For the first time I’m in a yoga class that I feel like I’m actually going to get it…I really can do this and I love how it feels.”

– Student of Foundations of Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue

I’d love to see how your yoga looks. Comment below, tag me on Instagram @melissanreynolds

yoga for chronic pain and fatigue challenge
Join us for the FREE five minutes a day for five days yoga for chronic pain and fatigue challenge – it’s open now for you to see how you could “do” yoga.

Unlimited yoga made especially for fibro bodies? Join us in the Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio.

yoga and meditation for fibromyalgia

How to Spend Less on Physical Treatments for Chronic Pain and Decrease Your Pain at the Same Time

I ask group members regularly what topics they would like me to share about, “how to save money on physical therapies” was the top request on the last post where I asked for suggestions. So here I share how you can spend less money on physical treatments for chronic pain and strategies for decreasing your pain at the same time.

What a whopper! As soon as I read the comment, I was formulating ideas. As a person who has tried physiotherapists (many different ones), Eastern practitioners, massage therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, personal trainers (who did not get it) and more, I know the costs involved here. We run a public system here in New Zealand so none of these private physical treatments are funded at all.

When I was at my worst I was going weekly, paying $50 or $60 a session to very little benefit. As I have finally put these things into place I have reduced to three or four weekly – this is a saving of $150-200 per month! That adds up!

These are the things that you can do to reduce the amount of treatments you need from physical therapists (physiotherapists, massage therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, etc.). If they are not necessarily easy, when are they ever?

The four ways of how to spend less on physical treatments for chronic pain

1. Remove or reduce the things that perpetuate the physical issue the physiotherapist/massage therapist/chiropractor etc. has to work on.

This might be a tough one as you may not be willing or able to do the things. For example, working full-time on a computer really exacerbates my neck and shoulders. I cannot, no matter the steps I take to mitigate it, experience less pain and keep doing it. Do you engage in something that aggravates your tricky spots? Is your bed and pillow correct for your needs? Check your breathing!

Let yourself brainstorm as there might be lots of things that come up.

2. Work on the whole of life things

So a lot of our physical issues are related to our overall health. When the fibromyalgia was worse, I needed to see the physical therapists for in search of relief (which never came).

When I changed my entire life – reducing work hours, cutting my commute, moving to a warmer climate, learning to rest (and later meditate), gentle exercise (which for me meant cutting back!) etc. – the amount I needed to see the physical reduced.

3. Finding the right treatment

This alone halved how often I had to go. For severe, recurrent trigger points in my neck – for which I’ve spent at least $1500 per year for over 10 years trying to get some relief from – I have the right practitioner and treatment at last. It’s a physiotherapist who places acupuncture needles into the trigger point, leaves it to relax and then performs gentle traction and stretches. The amount of time and money I spent on massage therapists, physiotherapists, osteopathy and chiropractic is insane.

Ask yourself, does that massage or chiropractic session actually help enough to justify the cost? Does the benefit hold long enough to be justifiable?

4. Learn to do things yourself

This might be the most important and the easiest!

For me, this is copious amounts of stretching/yoga.

You can learn about yoga for fibromyalgia in my free workshop! We look at commonly asked questions, myths, my favourite poses, the benefits and more.

for the first time i feel like i can do yoga

Meditation is also helpful, especially guided meditations for pain relief and relaxation. You’ve heard me talk about this for years. Insight timer free app.

I also use a Theracane trigger point massager and foam roller. You could self-massage or buy a personal massage aid. This post talks about inexpensive items I use to fight chronic pain.

Always ask a practitioner you see to give you suggestions for things you can do at home and DO them.

So these are my top four ways to spend less on physical treatments (and reduce your pain at the same time). Are you working on any of these areas? What is your favourite way to cope with physical pain?

Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue

I have been dabbling with yoga for chronic pain and fatigue for more than 10 years. For the past five I have progressively become more enamoured with it.

In this post I will share some research, the benefits (in brief), the thing I love most about yoga, it’s multiple uses for chronic pain and fatigue, specific ways I use it, and how you can learn more about incorporating it into your well being journey.

Let’s be clear right out of the gate. Yoga is not a panacea. It is not a cure all. It is one useful tool that can be a part of a holistic plan for wellness.

yoga for fibromyalgia infographics

Type “yoga for fibromyalgia” or “yoga for myofascial pain syndrome” or “yoga for pain” etc. And you will find a wealth of search options to delve into.

There is research specifically for using poses for myofascial pain syndrome, fibromyalgia and more. Taking a more macroscopic view, mindfulness for chronic illness is just as much of a buzz topic at the moment.

Research around Yoga, Pain and Fatigue

Take this 2010 study that found, “pain was reduced in the yoga group by an average of 24 percent, fatigue by 30 percent and depression by 42 percent.” The yoga group participated in a holistic program for eight weeks – gentle yoga poses, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga-based coping instructions, group discussions and a daily diary assessing their progress. The control group received standard medication treatments.

This was followed up three months later: “Follow-up results showed that patients sustained most of their post treatment gains, with the FIQR (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Revised) Total Score remaining 21.9% improved at 3 months. Yoga practice rates were good, and more practice was associated with more benefit for a variety of outcomes.”

This study was small, just eight participants completed the study on the effect of yoga on myofascial pain syndrome in the neck. It comprised two weeks of breathing and relaxation practices and two weeks of asanas (poses), breathing and relaxation. The poses were Trikonasan (triangle pose), Tadasan (mountain pose), Vakrasan (twisted pose), Balasan (child’s pose) and Vajrasan (thunderbolt pose).

However, let’s not lose sight here – Vajrasan is a more advanced pose, the ability to do this pose indicates a pretty high level of physical ability to me.

The results were that this program “led to significant improvement in the quality of health, physical capacity (strength), cervical range of motion, and pressure threshold of the trigger points, and decreased the disability and pain.”

Perspectives on Yoga Inputs in the Management of Chronic Pain describes the benefits: “This consists of decreased metabolism,[24] decreased rate of breathing, decreased blood pressure, decreased muscle tension, decreased heart rate and increased slow brain [alpha] waves.[25] As the neural discharge pattern gets corrected, the habitual deep muscle hyper tonicity and thus the static load on postural muscle also slowly come down. The function of viscera improves with the sense of relaxation and sleep gets deeper and sustained. The fatigue level comes down.”

woman doing yoga

Benefits of yoga for chronic pain and fatigue (or anyone)


• calms the autonomic nervous system
• help with sleep
• reduced fatigue
• reduced pain
• increased physical capacity
• decreased myofascial pain
• less anxiety
• reduced depression
• relaxation
• mindfulness of movement
• awareness of proper alignment

What I love the most about yoga for managing chronic pain and fatigue:

Ease of adapting to my current abilities -Whatever my symptom level on any given day there is an option for me to practice yoga.

yoga for chronic pain and fatigue picture of toolkit

Let’s talk a couple of key things here:
Yoga is a tool, a multi use tool, but a tool nonetheless. I will use any tool at my disposal to help with the symptoms I live with. In much the same way I use low dose naltrexone- it was not designed for fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome but it helps anyway.

If some parts of the spectrum of yoga practices don’t resonate with you, ignore them. If you want to look at it as a purely physical practice, then do so.

In terms of the spiritual side, I shy away from much if it. My belief practice is Christianity and I have never felt a conflict. In fact, there is a great Christian yoga channel on YouTube.

Some of the options in yoga

Asanas (poses): one or two gentle poses (like child’s pose and forward bend), a flowing sequence of 5, 10, 20 or more minutes, chair yoga, bed yoga or restorative yoga.

Pranayama (breathing): breathing is always useful when you are managing a chronic illness. Simply focusing on your breath and helping your exhale to be slightly longer than your inhale will cause a relaxation effect. Breathing through pain, fatigue, stress, anxiety and overwhelm can help centre your thoughts on something else, release tension and help to ease the symptoms. Synchronising movements with the breath makes you more likely to be mindful of your movement and less likely to overdo it or injure yourself.

Meditation: I began using meditation specifically to achieve rest where sleep provided little. It was a means to an immediate end. After a few years I realised it was helping me much more profoundly in the form of turning down my central nervous system overdrive. There is nothing better than the comfort I feel after a 20 or 30 minute yoga nidra meditation. I cannot achieve it another way.

Day to day my practice changes but I usually practice in one way or another.

Meditation is my top tool for managing fatigue and pain. I very rarely miss my daily meditation.

I have never completed a 60 or 90 minute class or resembled a pretzel in any way. Because that is not the point.

Strengthening, calming, being mindful and moving is.

When my first son was young I had a yoga instructor come to my house for a private session to ensure my posture was correct and craft a sun salutation sequence suitable for my physical abilities at the time.

Sometimes I do the sequence with several breaths for each pose, one breath for each pose or a mix. If I feel a particular benefit from one of the poses I will engage in that one longer. Forward bend is a particularly good one for letting the neck gently stretch.

Cat and cow pose is a great tiny sequence for the pelvis and back. I did this multiple times a day during my pregnancies. I teach cat and cow pose in my free challenge, Five Minutes a Day for Five Days Challenge, sign up here.

When my pelvis was unstable due to pregnancy and I could hardly walk, I could still do half sun salutations (standing) or chair salutations.

The key is to be mindful of your body on any given day. Pay attention to what you need and can reasonably do.

Learn the many options- these tools have a place in our natural pain relief toolkit.

The complexity in yoga for chronic pain and fatigue

When we have extra challenges to think through, we need to be extra mindful. 

There is some complexity involved in practicing yoga when you have chronic issues. This is why it can be helpful to see a teacher privately – either for some initial guidance or ongoing personalised work. 

There are several types of yoga, many asana (poses) to choose from and we need to choose sequences that make sense for our current context. The other bonus is that you can create a homework plan so that you can continue your work between sessions, equipping you further.

As an example of the complexity – I have severe, recurring trigger points in my neck and shoulders. Holding poses that activate these muscles for up to five minutes (yin yoga) is not a good idea for me. I have a heat intolerance so hot yoga isn’t for me. The fibromyalgia and poor tense fascia responds well when given a chance to gently release.  So I gravitate toward slow flow and gentle yoga. 

I trained to be a yoga teacher because I got so frustrated with doing “beginner” classes that we out of my reach physically and for the time frame. I also wanted to share these tools to show you that “yoga” doesn’t mean 90 minute classes getting into very bendy positions. 

This is also why I created the below challenge!

Learn how we can use the tools of yoga in just five minutes a day?

Join us for the challenge!

yoga for chronic pain and fatigue challenge
Join us for the FREE five minutes a day for five days yoga for chronic pain and fatigue challenge

Join us for five minutes per day for five days and see how the tools of yoga might be of service to you.

I’d love to hear from you – have you found benefit from any of the tools of yoga?