After a sudden diagnosis of MS, Laura Thorne faced a long road to rehabilitation. Now a yoga instructor, Laura tells us why yoga is a great choice for people with MS.
Getting diagnosed with MS
My diagnosis was very sudden. I was on a call at work when I lost the ability to speak, and a few hours later I was rushed into surgery with suspected brain cancer.
The results later revealed an aggressive form of relapsing remitting MS. I had significant brain damage and spent two years going through intense rehabilitation.
I’ve always been passionate about yoga as it’s a great way to destress. But after my diagnosis it became an integral part of my recovery and a way to heal myself from the inside out. I even trained as a teacher.
I still have ongoing health challenges because of my MS, but yoga helps me. And I want to help others through my teaching – because when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
The benefits of yoga for MS
Living with MS can bring you down, so it’s important to exercise physically and mentally. Yoga allows you to do both at once. Through the movements, you focus on your body and on what makes you feel better, rather than your ailments.
You learn something new every practice, so yoga can also help forge and strengthen pathways in the brain.
Also, the great thing about yoga is anyone can do it and you don’t need fancy equipment – you can even do seated yoga from a chair.
Top tips for starting yoga
- If you’re taking a class, arrive early and speak to the teacher about how your MS affects you, so they can adapt poses to suit you.
- Remember - if you’re feeling self-conscious (because we’ve all been there), it’s fine to lay down at the back or take regular rests.
- Practise at your best time of day. For me it's the morning.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself, yoga is completely individual – just like your health.