Earlier in the week I asked for some suggestions for posts through Facebook and Twitter. The first request/question I got was from Kate Quantrell-Clarke saying "Yoga... Helpful???" Thank you Kate!
For many years I have heard many benefits of yoga. Numerous people have found great results through stretching and strengthing. I think it's important to learn what yoga is and it's original practice. Even though it is presently considered physical exercise, yoga is an ancient practice of strengthing your mind, body, breathe and spirituality. Yoga that is meant to help you physically is called hatha yoga and there are various forms of it. Some are vigorous to build stamina, some are done at certain temperatures, and others are for relaxation and meditation. It can very easily become a life style due to how much it can help one physically and mentally. Gentle forms are highly recommended for people with physical disabilities because of its calm and subtle nature when done at ones own pace.
Now, all said and done it might sound as if I'm a pro at yoga. I am not. I haven't tired yoga in about three or so years. I did do classes at one time however. I used to go to a very gentle class with my mother once a week. Despite it being rather slow, I had a hard time. My mum used to get very nervous that I would hurt myself because I was extremely stiff. I took a lot of precautions and tried to take my time, but even then I wasn't seeing much improvement. I was painful too. I actually ended up putting more stress on myself because I had a hard time and was frustrated. Mum took me out of classes once I hit that point, but also because I was getting sick. And so ended my yoga career. However now that I've found a medicine that works, I might give yoga stretches another try once the weather gets better.
I've heard of a lot of people with injuries and chronic illnesses finding benefit from doing yoga. It Is possible to strengthen, stretch and even rebuild muscle through practicing certain kinds of yoga. In fact, I have heard of a person who was very stiff finding benefit in doing a very simple yoga pose in a special yoga room kept very hot and humid. Even the breathing exercises can really help one! We don't realise it but breathing is such a major part of our life, and we can greatly improve our physical and mental health through learning to control our breathe. If you are thinking about trying it, by all means go ahead! It might be a good idea to talk to your doctor first, and remember to start out very gently and don't push yourself. Getting hurt isn't worth it. If you can, try and find a teacher who knows how to work with chronic illnesses and injuries or a therapist who is willing to use yoga in therapy sessions. Best of luck if you choose to try!
As a side note, there are also many people who haven't found much help through yoga. Some have experienced a lot of pain in the process of it. Don't let this stop you from trying it, or be the thing that pushes you to try. What you do with your body is up to you and you have to decide what is best for it.