Image shows Yvette practicing yoga

“Yoga is a huge part of how I manage my MS”

Before I was diagnosed with MS, I was working as a divorce lawyer. I spent most of my days sitting at a desk. I’d go to the gym at 7pm and usually come out feeling like I’d been on an assault course (noise, heat, adrenalin).

My aunt, an Iyengar yoga teacher, introduced me to Garth McLean. Garth is an LA-based Iyengar yoga teacher who has relapsing MS. He works internationally with students who have MS. There was no going back to stressful gyms for me after this.

A workout for body and mind

Iyengar is a precise form of yoga, which uses props to help people do poses without hurting or exhausting themselves. We use chairs, bolsters, blocks and belts. Teachers are highly trained. Many, like Garth, are specifically trained to teach students with health conditions.

It’s brilliant for my MS because it works on the whole body and mind. Some days I do standing poses (like trikonasana – triangle) or balances (like vrkasana – tree pose).

Some days I do twists. When I’m feeling very fatigued, I lie over bolsters, letting my brain and body rest.

Rediscovering what I can do

Garth helped me rediscover what I can do, rather than what I can’t. He got me up in a handstand, which I last did in about 1979! However, you don’t have to ‘achieve’ anything, other than the pleasure of movement and feeling better. I practise every day (sometimes just 10 minutes) and do a class each week.

My body feels more ‘connected’ and I sleep well. I’d recommend Iyengar yoga to anyone.

About Yvette: Yvette is 48 and lives in Devon. She retired early, giving her more time to volunteer with our MS Helpline – and practise yoga, of course.