A Colorado man practices yoga, as part of a holistic approach, to tackle symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Dan Melfi, aged 65, told me that he has been on several medications since his diagnosis in 2009, but that none of them had provided as big a benefit as he has gained from the holistic approach.
“I keep diseases of aging away as much as possible,” he said. “I watch my diet, exercise regularly, and enjoy yoga. I belong to an MS swim class where I can work my whole body without fear of falling.
“Talking of falling, I find that I can use yoga moves to regain my balance and get up again.” I asked if he took a yoga class. No, he said, he does it at home, using DVDs.
That made me think about the benefits of natural therapies and holistic medicine in general and yoga in particular.
What is yoga?
So, what is yoga? According to the Yoga Journal, the word comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, meaning to yoke or bind.
Today, most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures. This is designed to purify the body and provide the physical strength and stamina required for long periods of meditation.
In her book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, author Lissa Rankin, MD, writes: “The data suggests that your body can heal itself, but it does so much more effectively when the process is facilitated by the right kinds of healers who support the body’s self-healing process.”
These may include doctors and nurses, but may also be therapists, acupuncturists, energy healers, naturopaths, shamans, and other healing practitioners.
Now, shamanism is a subject I know something about but that’s another story, today we’re going to stay on subject.
Yoga: How does it help to heal?
Hearing Dan praise yoga for helping him deal with MS, convinced me to look into how it helps to heal.
Luckily, I found a fascinating website set up by Tera Bucasas, called Yoga for Healing.
On this site, Tera says: “It’s easy to find yoga, it’s not as easy to find yoga specifically for those on a healing journey. So much of the popular yoga out there emphasizes power, intensity and sculpting.
“Yoga for Healing is a holistic practice that addresses the mind, body and the soul. We allow our bodies to build strength gently while working to heal our nervous system and mental space.
“With Yoga for Healing you will: build strength, enhance joint movement, gain flexibility, relax, modify and take things at your pace.”
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Diagnosed with MS in 2002, he continued to work until mobility problems made him retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective. Besides that, he is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.