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Yoga for Fibromyalgia

Many people have heard of fibromyalgia but may not be sure what it is. Fibromyalgia is a condition affecting 2-8% of the population, and it is characterized by chronic pain in tender spots, mainly in the neck, shoulders, and low back. Other symptoms may include sleep problems, joint pain and depression. The cause is not known.

I became interested in fibromyalgia because I have had a number of students over the years with this painful condition. The students and I found ways to modify a more general class, but I have always been unhappy that I couldn't offer something more, so I decided to do a 4 week series starting in January specifically for people with fibromyalgia. As I learned from my students, there is always going to be some pain but my goal is to use the tools of yoga to alleviate some of that pain and to develop some practices for better sleep--which can make a huge difference in terms of physical and mental wellbeing.

We will take lots of time to unwind and calm the body and mind in this class. We will be mindful that each student has good days and bad days, and when it's a bad day, there will be a very simple restful practice for those students. We will use gentle exercise, deep breathing and meditation. The emphasis will be on tuning in to the body, releasing tension and pain, breathing fully and comfortably, and working to maintain mobility in the neck, shoulders, back, and hips.

(Students in this class must be able to get down and up from the floor without assistance.)

~ Cheryl Smith

photo by Rachel Crowder

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