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Tips to make your first Yoga class with a chronic illness a good experience.

Is one of your New Years resolutions to be more active despite your chronic illness, or to help manage or reduce your symptoms?  Yoga is one of the most suitable exercises for most chronic illnesses.  Following is my article with tips for starting yoga classes when you have a chronic illness.

Do you long to go jogging/to the gym/play netball/go hiking etc. but find these activities aren’t realistic for you at the moment?  We still need to find ways to move our bodies with a chronic illness and yoga is a gentle way to do this.  If you have the capacity to attend a yoga class I hope the following information will help you feel more ready to try.  Your mind and body benefit in endless ways from getting the blood flowing, the muscles and joints moving, and tuning into your breath.

Like with a lot of new things, the hardest part about starting yoga can be walking into a class for the very first time (or the first time since you’ve been ill).  When you have a chronic illness you may not be sure how your body will respond, or quite what your capacity for exercise is.  Your body may function differently to how it used to, your muscles may be stiff and tight and you may fatigue more quickly.

Part of the philosophy of yoga is to do what is right for your body at the time.  A good teacher will offer modifications for those with particular needs such as if they don’t have the flexibility or strength to do the next pose correctly.  Modifications are also offered to pregnant women as well as those with back problems.  While modifications aren’t typically voiced for those with chronic illness and symptoms like low energy and general aches and pains there is room to work within your boundaries.

It can be a good idea to meet the teacher before your first class in person, or you could email or phone  them.  If you want, you could print out some information for them about how your chronic illness might affect what you can do in class.  At least make some notes so you have decided how you might answer any questions.  You will most likely be asked in any class you try if you have done yoga before and if you have any injuries or things they should know about.  Continue reading here

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