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

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

Can yoga cure chronic pain? The myths and truths about yoga for fibromyalgia

This is a big yoga myth. Yoga is not a cure for chronic pain, fibromyalgia, any illness. But it really can help.

It is my mission to share the tools of yoga for fibromyalgia with you, but it is also my mission to dispel the idea that yoga is a panacea or a cure all.

It is simply one part of my whole of life wellness plan.

In this training I go through some of the myths, including that yoga is a cure for chronic pain.

https://youtu.be/MqOs9Ymblu8

We talk about:

  • The benefits (calming the central nervous system, relaxing, helping with sleep, pain etc.)
  • What “Yoga” isn’t
  • What my practice looks like as a yoga teacher with fibromyalgia
  • How you can do it
  • It ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK – it’s not 90 minute classes or being a pretzel!

Why do I talk about these things? Because I get so frustrated and sad when I hear that people with fibromyalgia won’t try yoga because of what they think it is. Or that it is touted as a cure all – and therefore cannot be any help at all.

Or, worst of all, when people have been put off by previous experiences of trying to cram their fibro body into a class that wasn’t made accessible for their needs. Especially if they ended up in pain for days.

How can you give yoga a go yourself?

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

Or jump in with both feet and join us in the Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio where you will gain access to unlimited yoga designed especially for fibro bodies.

yoga and meditation for fibromyalgia

Learn more about yoga

Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue

The Central Nervous System and Yoga

What Yoga is Best for Me Today?

What Does it Mean to Do Yoga?

yoga is not a cure for chronic pain but it can help

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 try just five minutes a day for five days, 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.

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!

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 Pain and 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

Six Great 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