Relaxation and Stress Reduction for Fibromyalgia

It’s that time of year again when those with fibromyalgia (FM) are recognized and information is given to help promote an understanding of this often debilitating condition.  Last year, around this same time, I wrote a blog on fibromyalgia, since May 12th is National Fibromyalgia Education and Awareness Day.  I have been working with yoga students who have FM since 1996*.  This condition exhibits a broad array of symptoms and there is no cure, but yoga has been shown to be of great value in providing empowering tools for those with FM.

In this blog, I want to discuss the importance of relaxation and stress reduction for FM.  There has been much research that confirms the importance of stress reduction in relation to health, but this is especially true with FM. Coping with this condition is in itself stressful, besides trying to manage the symptoms.

People often want to do too much and push too hard beyond what their bodies are telling them is healthful.  There are many poses that can be beneficial for FM, but in our busy lives, we forget to STOP and listen to what our bodies need.  Instead we strive and work too hard or move too much, when instead, putting our legs up a wall, resting on our backs would be the absolute best thing to do.

Yoga is not just contorted positions and flexibility exercises, balance, etc.  In fact, the more one practices and ages, it becomes apparent that we tend not to hear ourselves very well. We listen outside and often ignore our own signals to slow down.  Well, it’s time to start listening better!

One of my favorite relaxation poses is the one lying on your back and putting your legs up a wall (Viparita Karani).  Get comfortable by putting a pillow behind your head, or some blankets under your trunk, whatever feels best for you. If it is not easy for you to put your legs up that high, rest your calves on a chair or couch instead, with your knees at a 90-degree angle.  Put on some of your favorite music, or just close your eyes and breathe.  Rest in this position for at least 10-20 minutes, every day! Choose a time, maybe mid-afternoon when your energy level is low, and enjoy. Let go of any residual guilt you may have for taking this time.  Look forward to this gift of quiet that you can give to yourself in your busy life.  Do the yoga your body needs.

If you have any question or comments, feel free to email me at

*  In 2008 Rodmell Press published my book, Yoga for Fibromyalgia: Move, Breathe & Relax to Improve Your Quality of Life.  If you are interested, you can get it at

This Post Has One Comment

  1. csperryess

    Hey Shoosh – fine advice. I’m a big fan of the feet-up-the-wall pose & its sister, the one-foot-up-the-doorframe/other-foot-through-the-door pose. It’s so true that most of us suburbanites don’t slow down enough. Thanks for reminding us all to take a break.

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