"I have an autoimmune disease, can I practice Yoga?"
We have received this kind of message in Mahé Yoga Holistic Instagram DM. Before we answer that question, let's understand what autoimmune disease actually is and how Yoga can help. Autoimmune diseases are a group of chronic conditions where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis. These diseases can cause a range of symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, and inflammation, and can significantly impact a person's quality of life. While there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, there are various treatments and lifestyle changes that can help manage symptoms and improve overall health.
One of the lifestyle changes that has shown promise in managing autoimmune diseases is practicing Yoga.
Yoga is an ancient practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote overall health and wellbeing. The benefits of yoga for people with autoimmune diseases have been extensively researched, and there is growing evidence that it can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Here are some of the ways that practicing yoga can benefit those with autoimmune diseases.
Reduces inflammation Inflammation is a hallmark of autoimmune diseases, and it is often responsible for the pain and swelling that people with these conditions experience. Studies have shown that practicing yoga can reduce inflammation in the body by decreasing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This means that yoga can help manage symptoms such as pain, swelling, and stiffness, which are common in autoimmune diseases.
Improves joint mobility Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus can cause joint pain and stiffness, making it difficult for people to move around. Yoga postures, such as gentle stretches and movements, can help improve joint mobility and flexibility. Practicing yoga regularly can also help reduce pain and stiffness in the joints, allowing people with autoimmune diseases to move more freely and comfortably.
Boosts the immune system The immune system is central to autoimmune diseases, as it is responsible for attacking healthy cells in the body. Practicing yoga can help boost the immune system by reducing stress and promoting relaxation. When the body is in a state of relaxation, it produces fewer stress hormones such as cortisol, which can suppress the immune system. In contrast, practicing yoga has been shown to increase the production of immune-boosting cells such as T-cells, which can help improve overall health. Certain yoga poses like backbends, inversions, and twists are thought to stimulate the lymphatic system, which helps to remove toxins and waste from the body. This can help to strengthen the immune system and improve overall health.
Reduces stress and anxiety Autoimmune diseases can be stressful and anxiety-inducing, as they can significantly impact a person's quality of life. Practicing yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing the levels of stress hormones in the body. Yoga also helps regulate the nervous system, which can help people with autoimmune diseases feel more grounded and centered. Stress can worsen autoimmune disease symptoms. Yoga is known to be an effective stress-reducing practice. Yoga techniques like pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, and relaxation techniques can help to reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being.
Improves sleep Sleep disturbances are common in autoimmune diseases, and they can exacerbate symptoms such as fatigue and pain. Practicing yoga can help improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. Yoga also helps regulate the circadian rhythm, which can help people with autoimmune diseases establish healthy sleep patterns.
Enhances overall quality of life Autoimmune diseases can be challenging to live with, and they can significantly impact a person's quality of life. Practicing yoga can help enhance overall quality of life by improving physical and mental health. Yoga can help manage symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and anxiety, allowing people with autoimmune diseases to feel more comfortable and at ease. Additionally, yoga can help improve self-awareness and mindfulness, which can help people with autoimmune diseases feel more in control of their health and wellbeing.
In conclusion, practicing yoga can be a beneficial lifestyle change for people with autoimmune diseases. Yoga can help manage symptoms such as inflammation, joint pain, and stress, and can improve overall physical and mental health. It's important to note that people with autoimmune diseases should approach yoga with caution and work with a qualified yoga instructor who has experience working with people with autoimmune diseases like at Mahé Yoga where you can take a tailored personal yoga therapy classes that suits your need. However, it is important to note that not all types of yoga may be appropriate for people with autoimmune diseases, and it is essential to consult with a healthcare