Yoga exercises gently stretch the large muscles of the legs, arms, and back. This increases flexibility, helps to reduce the incidence of muscle spasms, and improves circulation to all parts of the body. Improved circulation also helps prevent bedsores. Yoga compression poses reduce physical and emotional tension by changing the breath, adjusting the bodys chemical balance, and pushing fresh blood and oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. Yoga asans gently strengthen muscles, improving balance and posture; this results in greater stamina. A daily Yoga exercise program is nonstrenuous, enjoyable, and self-motivating because it can be done regardless of physical condition; many techniques can be done in a bed or chair, for example.
Adequate rest is necessary for everyones health, and especially for those with MS. Yoga relaxation and meditation techniques teach you how to recognize physical tension and release it so that your whole body rests; you also learn how to quiet the constant mental chatter that prevents your mind from resting. In meditation you learn to stop all thought for a few moments; this not only relaxes you but allows your inner strength, creativity and power to emerge. Daily meditation builds a support system from within.
Breathing techniques have long been used to reduce stress and to relieve pain. The deep, rhythmic patterns of Yoga breathing exercises, besides strengthening respiratory muscles, improve concentration and willpower.
An ideal daily routine of Yoga includes about 15 minutes of exercises, a few minutes of breathing, and 15-20 minutes of meditation; however, many of the techniques may be practiced throughout the day anytime, anywhere for an instant relaxation break.