Specifically Directed Poses

There is a flexibility to each pose at each level, especially the entry level and the intermediate ones, which might incline the practitioner to believe that each is representative of an entire spectrum or family of poses. This is true, but one must also bear in mind that the pose itself is the result of many years of refinement and, having been formed by centuries of thoughtful experience, is a kind of ideal to be asymptotically approached by most of us.

"Props" are listed at the beginning of each pose. Bear in mind that other or additional props may be needed according to the nature of the practitioner and the practice. Optimally, practitioners should work up gradually to a full minute in each pose on each side, unless otherwise indicated.

The rest of this focuses on improvement in seven areas central to people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) and similarly disabling conditions.

They are

(i) fatigue,(ii) spasticity, (iii) range of motion, (iv) strength, (v) coordination, (vi) balance,
and (vii) confidence and calm.

In each of these areas, approximately a half-dozen poses will be approached. In each case, the "standard" pose will be described first, then an "entry level" version recommended for wheelchair-bound and bed bound individuals, and a third, intermediate version for people who are at the border-lines of ambulation and transferring. Naturally, the idea is to master the material at whatever point seems right. For safety’s sake, always read through all the versions of the pose, then start out with the entry-level pose and move through the intermediate to the classical. The patience this engenders is part of the process! We have observed people go from a given pose to a more challenging level with encouraging consistency.

Seven benefits of yoga are equally valuable to patients with either type of multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as other patients with similar problems.

1. Reduce fatigue
2. Improve range of motion
3. Reduce spasticity
4. Strengthen
5. Coordinate
6. Improve balance
7. Raise confidence and generate calm.

Yoga raises confidence Raise confidence and generate calm through a combination of the first six benefits and because all six can be pursued independently. The practitioner realizes that he or she has much greater control over inner and outer states. Each benefit contributes to one’s calm. Each benefit requires possession of at least some measure of the qualities that lie above it.

Savasana - Corpse Pose

1. Lie on your back, palms up, knuckles down.

2. Elongate the back of your neck and the backs of your legs, advancing your heels and the back of your head as far as possible from your hips and shoulders. Keep the heels together but the forefeet and toes will drift apart.

3. Close your eyes. Let your facial expression dissolve.

4. Relax the jaw muscles, soft and hard palates, and cheek muscles.

5. Empty the mind: no memories, ideas, no dreaming.

Mr.Iyengar allows that at first, this relaxation will lead to sleep. After a while, an alert and calm individual breathing slowly and dispassionately for 10-20 minutes experiences a fine and thorough rejuvenation.
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