January 6


Doable Yoga for Fibromyalgia

By Sue Ingebretson

January 6, 2015

Amazon, FibroWHYalgia, pain, Shoosh Crotzer, Stress, tai chi, yoga, Yoga for Fibromyalgia

The practice of yoga can provide profound healing benefits for those with fibromyalgia and other chronic health challenges. Yoga (and tai chi) offer the perfect combination of meditation and movement for those who deal with pain and mobility issues.

Have you attended yoga classes or tried yoga videos at home?

Here’s my personal experience: Yoga is only as good as the instructor. I’ve had some good and quite a few not-so-good teachers. This is true, of course, in any classroom setting, but it’s particularly distressing in the fitness world. Some teachers understand the fibromyalgia body and some don’t.

There’s nothing worse

than already feeling unwell,

and having a fitness instructor

push you into a flare.

I had a yoga instructor once tell me that downward dog is good for you even if it makes your wrists hurt for days or even weeks afterward.

Ouch … so not right.

Since we keep hearing how good yoga is for us, are we just to sit back and see if the world conspires to bring us the perfect instructor? Fortunately, I think the world already has.

Let me introduce Shoosh Crotzer.

I’d seen Shoosh’s book, Yoga for Fibromyalgia on Amazon for ages. Oftentimes, Amazon suggests it as a complement to my own book, FibroWHYalgia. I was interested in learning more, and when I connected with Shoosh on Twitter, she was gracious enough to send me a copy. I’ve read it, dog-eared my favorite parts, and find this the perfect time of year to share my findings with you.

What I expected to see (but, thankfully, didn’t) in this book:

  • Impossible-looking poses.
  • A lot of “You can do it!” rah-rah statements when showing impossible-looking poses.
  • “Yogi-speak” terminology and verbiage.

Here’s what I like about the book:Doable Yoga for Fibromyalgia

  • Each pose is explained in simple terms with clear photographs.
  • The descriptions clearly define the benefits for each specific part(s) of the body.
  • The tools/supplies needed are all basic and inexpensive things I already own (nothing additional to buy).
  • The photographed model is a normal-looking “real” woman (not an augmented 19-year-old in spandex).
  • With 26 poses, there’s plenty to choose from, starting with your own problem areas.
  • I’m a big fan of Relaxation or Restorative Yoga and find many applicable poses in this book.
  • There’s a great resource section at the end listing additional books, DVDs, relaxation CDs, and even websites to search for yoga instructors and classes in your area.
  • There’s a super helpful chapter explaining the sequence of poses suggested for specific needs, including general pain relief and various areas of the body such as the neck, shoulders, back, hips, wrists, etc.

Here’s what I like about the author:

  • Her clear expertise in dealing with fibromyalgia clients is evident in every page. She shows poses and then suggests alternatives based on various mobility limitations.
  • She explains her close connection to the arthritis and fibromyalgia world and why this book is an important part of her work.
  • She chose a model to pose for the book who happens to not only be a yoga instructor herself but more importantly, one who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
  • Her knowledge and genuine interest in providing healthy and healing resources for the chronic illness community is obvious throughout this book.

Clearly, I feel this book is a valuable resource for anyone with fibromyalgia and/or any chronic health challenge. While I was provided with a book for review, the findings here are entirely my own. I’m not compensated in any way for the sale of her book and it’s my hope that you head right to Amazon (or your favorite retailer) and pick up your own copy.

Are you going to try yoga? Stress and pain relief may be right around the corner for you!

Have you already had success with Yoga? Please share your experiences below.

  1. Sue,
    Encourage people to look for a Senior Citizens’ or Arthritis Association sponsored yoga class to start out. I took classes from both at the beginning of my yoga journey and was encouraged to just do what my fibromyalgic body would allow. In one class we had 2 people on oxygen and several in wheel chairs, but we all did what we could and all received benefit from the poses we could do. I’ve moved on beyond this, but I don’t think I would have stuck with yoga if I had gone to a traditional beginner’s class first.

    Thanks for all your efforts for those of us dealing/coping with fibromyalgia!
    Susan Sumrall

    1. Great to hear some positive comments on yoga for us fibrites. I tried some years ago and slipped a disc and had to have 2 surgeries. Blah!! We were instructed in a cold room and at a fast pace. I was not knowegable about yoga at the time and had a terrible experience. Hands and wrist were useless for a month . But alas!!! We have been EDUCATED!! So greatful for all of there great post and fibro sites!!! Many thanks to all who share info. And yes as soon as some of this fatigue subsides,I look forward to getting the book you mentioned!!!

      1. Brenda – so glad you feel encouraged and interested to give yoga another try. I had a similar experience and now love it. And, the book is definitely worth the purchase. Thanks for chiming in!

  2. I have participated in Chair Yoga on and off for a while. I don’t find it particularly enjoyable or relaxing but I do it for the gentle movement. And it doesn’t hurt or cause more pain.

    1. Thanks Sandy – I’ve tried it too, and have also recommended it to clients. There’s always SOME way that we can move.

  3. This book sounds awesome, I will def have to check it out, thank you Sue for the review! I have tried yoga and I have found the most relief, both physically and mentally with the Restorative (think laying on the floor with bolsters/pillows) as well as Yin Yoga (all sitting on the floor, holding poses/stretches for 3-5 minutes). Both very relaxing, gentle and less strenuous than say a Vinyasa Flow or Hot Yoga (Bikram.) I have tried the Yin Yoga in a hot room and that was nice as well, on occasion 🙂 In any yoga class I take though I do get to the first one early enough to speak with the instructor and let them know I have fibro, so I do what I can, so that they will not push me unnecessarily. Of course this is the case in any yoga, only do what you can, but I like to make sure that if they see me break into child’s pose or pause for a bit that they understand why. Namaste 🙂

    1. Christine — thanks so much for the fabulous info! I wish I’d understood (years ago), that I could express my limitations. Instead, I just felt bad and made things worse. It sounds like you’ve made great accommodations for your own needs and your advice will help others here. Again, thanks for sharing!

  4. I just recently was told I should try hatha yoga for my spinal problems and fibro.. I bought a beginners yoga dvd, a mat and blocks and gave it a try. Seeing as I was doing this at home, without a pushy instructor, I was able to stop the pose sooner if I needed to, or modify it for my ability. After I finished the 40 minute session, I felt relaxed and “loose”… I did wake up sore the next morning so I rested that day, and now after doing it a few times, I have enjoyed it and found that I am not too sore afterwards. I have degenerative disc disease in my cervical and lumbar spine as well as the fibromyalgia both of which force me to live with varying levels of pain each day. I’ve been unable to do most other forms of strenuous exercise, but I’m thinking that yoga is definitely something I can do without the worry of flare ups… I’d like to check out the Yoga for Fibromyalgia book for some more variations to the yoga practice….

    1. Shari – your approach sounds perfect! I always like to point out that we’re the only ones who can determine what “sore” means to us. For me, if my muscles are sore – that’s progress. If my joints/bones/tendons are sore, then I back off. Of course, there are layers of “sore,” too so we all need to determine what works for us. Thanks for the great input!

  5. My primary highly recommended practicing yoga. I now have five moves I do on a regular basis and am pleased with how well I can now do and body feels good about it now. Unfortunately, initially I developed significant sciatica which I had never experienced before. Learning and practicing the moves was the only ‘change’ I had done prior to that new pain.. The pain affected my left side, and I visited a specialist. It took me a month to get in. That new pain eventually disappeared. I need and want to do more and plan to do so. Thank you for this article and for the book review as well. I do have some DVDs. It is an effort for me to go that slow with yoga. I resist but I would do better with my nervous system by accepting this help. Ironically, when I was younger, I did yoga and loved it! I think the osteoarthritis and myofascial pain alongside nerve damage and FM do make my efforts a bit challenging.

    1. Julie- thanks for sharing your valuable experience. I really think you’d find value in this book. I even remember seeing info in there about sciatica, and which poses to avoid if you have it. I’m glad it has helped and I hope you can get back into practice again!

      1. Sue, as always, thank you so much for sharing and caring! You have many giftings like encouraging as well. Needless to say, your writing style is one of the most concise and information worthy. May 2015 be even brighter for you and yours.

  6. Sue,

    You are quite the convincer. I do think the major reason for my hesitance is that my past experiences with yoga (as an older woman) has not been as favorable as I have needed. For that reason, I have just purchased the above book which would be ‘ideal’ for someone challenged. It will be one I can savor, understand, and get the help I need since my body does has special needs. Not only will my primary doctor be happy, I will be able to begin and know what to do now.

  7. Thanks for this recommendation, Sue! I’m always on the lookout for yoga teachers that are knowledgeable about yoga for Fibro and CFS! This book looks like a great find, will definitely be checking it out!

    I’m a huge fan of yoga for helping with chronic illnesses ( I teach it now!), but it can definitely have the opposite effect if you don’t find the right teacher. Going to yoga classes at gyms or many studios are geared more towards fitness than gentle movement and mindfulness.

    Yoga as Medicine by Dr. Timothy McCall is also a great resource, and there are some good DVD’s, programs, and free videos on youtube for Fibromyalgia but you certainly need a good vetting process :).

    Thanks again for the recommendation!


    1. Kayla – so glad you found this info useful! I did, too 😉 And, thanks for you great sharing. Love it!

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"True Healing requires a combination of healthy nutrition, healthy body movements, and emotional wellness. This is what I call the Restoration Trio" ~ Sue Ingebretson