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Structural Yoga Therapy for Fibromyalgia

Updated on May 11, 2010

I use the Structural Yoga Therapy book by Mukunda Stiles to stretch and strengthen my muscles to relieve Fibromyalgia. This book is designed to be adapted to your particular body. It is important to strech tight muscles in your body, but it is equally important to strengthen weak muscles.

There is a section at the start to establish postural issues you may have such as whole body balance, rounded or flat back, rounding of shoulders, forward head, knock knees, bowed legs and ankle alignment. The book has a chart to identify a particular posture e.g. forward head and lets you know which muscles are tight e.g. sternocleidomastoid (muscles between ear and top of chest) and which muscles are weak e.g. upper trapezius (triangle muscle between neck and shoulder).

Make sure you get help from a friend when looking at your posture.  I missed the fact that I had a sway back (or lordosis) I assumed that I had the hunchback (or khyphosis) posture.  The sway back posture meant that I had excessive lumbar curve but also the arm hides the top of the back making diagnosis difficult.  The swayback posture affects the thighs, hips, abdominals and neck.  This posture was making my neck very straight and tight.  The upward legs, reclining hero and boat yoga poses are helpful in correcting a sway back.

There is a range of joint freeing exercises to extablish your current range of motion and highlight what areas you need to work on.

There is a section on imporving mobility and strength. This contains my favourite all over exercise the Wall Hang which is great for stretching and relieving tension all over, especially hamstrings, back, shoulders and neck. To do the Wall Hang stand with your bottom, shoulders and head resting agains a wall. Move your feet 12 inches out from the wall parallel but slightly wider than hip width apart. Over at least 1 minute bring your spine slowly forward in four steps.

Step 1 - start with your head, relax face and jaw, open mouth slightly and bring head off wall slowly.

Step 2 - Slowly round shoulders and bring them off the wall vertibrae by vertebrae. Stop breifly and let your arms hang in front of your thighs.

Step 3 - Tilt your pelvis back so your lower back touches the wall. Bring your spine forward until your lower spine is touching the wall. Keep feet firmly on floor and knees slightly bent expecially if hamstrings are tight.

Step 4 - Tilt pelvis back more by tensing your stomach muscles and press lower back into the wall Your hips will sliide up the wall. Hold posture until everything relaxes, breathe deeply. Do not stay in posture too long for the first few times, particularly if you are very tense.

To come back up bend your knees and tilt pelvis and slowly beginning to roll your spine back up the wall and come to standing upright.

There are 24 regular poses and a quick reference diagram that are recommended in different combinations depending on your particular requirements. There is a chart by body region that details muscles that are affected and poses to strengthen and poses to stretch the particular muscle. There is also a handy chart for poses to use for particular body postures such as whole body balance, rounded or flat back, rounding of shoulders, forward head, knock knees, bowed legs and ankle alignment.

I recommend this book because you can really tailor it to your needs. I personally find the Wall Hang, side of hips stretch, complete boat, cobra, locust, camel and relaxation of a corpse poses helpful for me. I have had issues with my head leaning forward, knock knees, tight hamstrings, hip, shoulder and neck muscles.

I hope you will get as much benefit out of this book as I do.

Also see my main blog on Fibromyalgia

You can get the Structural Yoga Therapy book by Mukunda Stiles from Amazon relatively cheaply

© 2009 Donna Steiner

Please let me know how you get on and if this is helpful or you have any questions

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    • profile image

      J. Watson 7 years ago

      Thanks for your article. I myslef have fibromyalgia. I have been at a loss. I have 5 children and my life has been robbed, I feel. Fatigue and pain are everyday life and very few people understand. I would love to have my life back. I'm looking into all of your suggestions. Exercise is the hardest because it makes the pain worse.. Thanks

    • Donna Steiner profile image

      Donna Steiner 8 years ago from New Zealand

      I hope she finds the hub useful. I am happy to answer any questions she may have based on my experience with Fibromyalgia. Did you check out my other hub especially on Fibromyalgia and also the trigger point hub, these are both equally important to read.

    • tanakasan profile image

      tanakasan 8 years ago

      My aunt suffers from fibromyalgia... thank you so much for this hub. She will be so pleased when I show her this.