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Lyme Disease Yoga

yoga for lyme disease

Yoga can ease Lyme disease symptoms (Photo by Lisa R. Rhodes)

During the recovery process for Lyme disease yoga can be a wonderful aid for both body and mind and is popular with many patients. Practicing yoga encourages a calmness of mind which can in turn reduce the severity of symptoms connected to over-activity and stress on the nervous system. Yoga has a positive effect on inflammation in the body and can ameliorate symptoms of muscle pain and joint aches in Lyme disease, as well as helping to keep the mind focused and cut through the ‘brain fog’ that many patients experience. The stress of a long, drawn out, and often expensive process of diagnosing and treating Lyme disease can also be addressed by the meditative aspects of yoga without putting undue strain on the body.

When practicing Lyme disease yoga it is important to recognize the limitations of the body as it recovers from infection, inflammation, and periods of inactivity resulting from the illness. Having an understanding yoga teacher is essential, with care taken to ensure that patients work at a pace comfortable for them and not a full-on hot-yoga marathon that may simply exacerbate their symptoms and leave them exhausted. Finding a Lyme disease buddy to attend a beginners’ yoga class with can be helpful so that there is mutual encouragement and support should you feel the need to slow down or modify the postures in-class. Attending a regular yoga class can also be helpful in reducing the isolation that many Lyme disease patients experience, especially where their illness has led to unemployment and a reduction in social activities.

Benefits of Deep-Breathing for Lyme Disease

The concentration on breathing techniques and relaxation that are deeply entwined with yoga practice are particularly beneficial for Lyme disease patients in terms of compensating for central nervous system dysfunction, muscle stresses and strains, and aiding the immune system. Postures such as Bow, Fish, and Boat are considered by yogis to be excellent for stimulating the thymus gland, which plays a key role in the immune system. Cobra, and Pigeon are also beneficial in this regard.

Easy Bedtime Yoga for Lyme Disease

Patients may feel overwhelmed by the thought of attending a class however and wish to practice at home initially. Care should be taken not to overdo any of the movements or try advanced poses too soon as this could trigger muscle strain and increase inflammation and symptoms. Some of those recovering from Lyme disease find that a basic yoga routine can be practiced upon first waking in order to get them limbered up for the day ahead. Similarly, bedtime yoga can help to calm down the nervous system and promote restful, and restorative, sleep for some Lyme disease patients. Where necessary, yoga poses can be carried out on the bed to provide cushioning for aching joints.

Starting with a modified Mountain pose is a good introduction to the routine, with the pose adopted whilst lying down rather than standing. This can lead into a Bridge pose, followed by bringing the knees to the chest, and then the reclining Big Toe pose before moving to a seated Staff pose and then an easy seated pose similar to Lotus but with more relaxed legs and ankles. This type of routine can help get the blood flowing without causing dizziness or problems with orthostatic blood pressure through sudden standing. It is also easily modified to extend the difficulty and length of the routine as suits, showing that Lyme disease yoga can start out simple and help rebuild strength and peace of mind in those recovering from such an illness.