When you’re living with a chronic illness, you know what it’s like to feel depleted with no energy left. If you suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you deal with this fatigue on a daily basis. Yet other conditions, such as Fibromyalgia or Lyme can also leave you feeling less energized on a regular basis.
Researchers are starting to find positive effects of yoga on chronic illnesses. From pain to depression to fatigue, yoga can help you manage your symptoms. But a lot of yoga classes out there are more like aerobic or gymnastics classes than gentle yoga. If you are suffering from a chronic illness, starting out with these intense classes could make your symptoms worse.
Here are 6 yoga poses to reduce fatigue. These poses are safe for beginners, and people living with chronic illnesses. Beat fatigue and live a life you love:
1. Childs Pose
Time: 3-5 minutes
Benefits: Opens the hips, releases the back, calms the body.
Sit on the floor with your feet together and knees a few inches wider than your hips (about as wide as your yoga mat if you have one). Walk your hands forward in front of you until your forward rests on the floor. If your forehead doesn’t quite reach the floor then use a pillow or blanket under your forehead. It can also feel nice to place a pillow under your hips if your hips are a bit tight. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths.
2. Cat/Cow Pose
Time: 2 minutes
Benefits: Opens up the spine, improves digestion, relieves back pain.
Start on your hands and knees, with knees hip distance apart and hands shoulder distance. As you inhale, lift up your hips, let your belly lower, roll the shoulders back and look forwards. As you exhale, tuck the hips under, round the spine, and let the head drop. Repeat this 5-6 times moving with your breath.
3. Supine Twist
Time: 2-3 minutes on each side
Benefits: Opens shoulders, improves digestion, releases lower back, quiets the mind
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Let both your knees fall down to the right side of your body, keeping the sides of your feet and your left shoulder on the ground. Then spread your arms out into a ’T’ shape and look over your left shoulder. This stretch affects your hips, torso and shoulders. Try to enjoy the pleasant stretching sensations as you practice breathing deeply.
4. Legs- Up- The- Wall/Chair Pose
Time: 3-5 minutes
Benefits: Calms the nervous system, regulates blood pressure, releases muscles in lower back, legs, and feet
This pose can be done against the wall or with a chair. Sit parallel to the wall. Then twist your legs towards the wall as you lean backwards, letting your legs rest in a comfortable position on the wall. You can use a pillow or blanket for your head or hips if you find the floor uncomfortable. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Notice the breath moving under your hands.
5. Butterfly Pose
Time: 2-3 minutes
Benefits: Stretches inner thighs and hips, relieves fatigue, improves bowel function
Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together, about 6-8 inches away from your pelvis. Open the feet up like you are reading a book, and then letting the spine round, slowly fold forward from the hips towards your feet. Close your eyes and remain for 2-3 minutes, or longer if it is comfortable.
Time: 5-10 minutes
Benefits: Relieves stress, improves mental concentration, provides total relaxation
My favourite pose! Lie down on your back, stretching your legs out in front of you. Let your feet fall to either side. Place your arms along the side of your body, palms facing up, and close your eyes. That’s it! You're doing yoga! You can stay in this pose for as long as you like. Focus on breathing into the belly. There are many meditations and breathing exercises you can do during Savasana. But if you want to keep things simple, keep the focus on your inhales and exhales.
Let me know if you liked these yoga poses to reduce fatigue! Are there any other poses that you would recommend?