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Angela Stevens

Yoga for ME/CFS

The Practice of Yoga - 'Action in Inaction'

So much has been written and so many theories put forward about the suitability of exercise in the treatment of ME/Chronic Fatigue (also known as PVFS or CFIDS). Sufferers were encouraged to work with graded exercise programmes, to work out at the gym to increase strength, or to take up jogging to promote energy. Evidence showed that such activities were not suitable for an illness where ongoing fatigue is one of the main symptoms - a fatigue that is not relieved by normal rest or sleep. So all forms of exercise were then prohibited.

Yoga does not come into the 'no exercise' ban for several reasons. It is a system that can be adapted to suit the individual need or ability. One definition of Yoga is that it is Action in Inaction implying that although the body is sometimes held in a certain position for a few seconds or minutes, without any apparent movement, many subtle effects are being experienced because Yoga works on a very subtle level - not only on the physical body but also on the mind, on the emotions and on the spiritual aspect of a person's nature. Physically it works on muscles and joints but also on nerves, organs and glands, and it illustrates that we cannot work on one area of the self without affecting another e.g. negative thought can have a profound effect on the physical body.

In modern life there is a tendency to pay an inordinate amount of attention to the physical body; our senses are over-stimulated so over-loading the brain with information absorbed by those senses, all to the detriment of our emotional and spiritual states which can be greatly neglected. Yoga encourages the balance of these four areas which should receive equal nourishment to prevent dis-ease when the balance of the body's functions has become disturbed. The word Yoga means Balance, Harmony, Unity and implies affecting the whole person thereby creating a state of ease.

One of the main reasons why Yoga is such an eminently suitable system for ME / CFS is that it can target some of the main culprits of the illness e.g.

  • The Hypothalamus Gland which governs the Autonomic Nervous System. If this malfunctions it causes problems with all automatic functions of the body and brain such as swallowing, blinking, digesting, breathing, temperature control, etc.
  • Lack of blood to the Brain Stem is one of the indicators that it is ME/CFS and not some other illness. This problem can be addressed.
  • A lack of balance in the main Energy Centres.
  • Improves relaxing and sleeping.
  • Helps to alleviate the build-up of Lactic Acid in the muscles.
  • Gradually increases tolerance to exercise.
  • Teaches Energy Conservation.

These areas are worked on subtly through the gentle use of physical movements, exercises, held positions, through breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation, and through the use of colour and sound.
These are also suitable for FM (Fibromyalgia)

Audio CDs for all energy levels are available for safe home practice and special yoga classes are available in the UK. If you would like a list of teachers, please e-mail me at

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