On the days when your fibro flares, the last thing you might want to do is head out for some pavement-pounding exercise. You know regular exercise is a great way to manage even your most painful days, but it can be hard to go out for a walk or hit the gym when your whole body aches. Yoga for fibromyalgia is a great way to get the pain-relieving exercise you need, right in your own home. These are the greatest benefits of yoga for fibro, as well as poses to try.

Is yoga good for fibromyalgia? 

Fibromyalgia is a widespread pain condition characterized not only by whole-body aches but also by extreme fatigue, mood disorders, and cognitive dysfunction. The origins of this syndrome are unknown, but it can be debilitating. As many as ten million people in the U.S. suffer. The vast majority of those are women between 20 and 50 years old.

As part of a comprehensive treatment strategy that includes changes to diet and medications, yoga for fibromyalgia offers three key benefits.

1. Reduces muscular tension

One of the hallmarks of fibromyalgia is muscle tightness and stiffness. Easy stretches for large muscles can prevent those muscles from seizing up or feeling stagnant. Even practicing a gentle forward fold with knees bent and chest relaxed onto the thighs can wake up tight hamstrings and back muscles.

Likewise, a wide-legged forward fold on the ground opens up hips, and lunges keep hip flexors mobile. Warm muscles that stay flexible are muscles that are less prone to tightness, and that can help manage your fibro pain.

2. Improves spinal alignment

Your skeleton, wrapped in muscle and tendon, is beautifully designed to support the weight of the body. If something is out of alignment, though, pain and stiffness is usually the result.

When joints and tendons are aching, the impulse might be to hunch over or cradle them to decrease the pain. Yoga for fibromyalgia teaches you how to properly align your skeletal system so that your whole body is properly supported.

In addition to flexibility and spinal alignment, gentle, consistent yoga for fibromyalgia helps keep muscles strong. Strong muscles provide more support. Strong muscles help increase stamina so daily tasks are not as difficult.

These muscle-strengthening benefits are available to everyone, regardless of their fitness level. Yoga can be gentle and does not need to be hot, intense, or fast-paced to increase muscle strength. Even seated yoga that increases core and back strength can help with fibromyalgia pain.

3. Improves sleep quality and mental health

The final (and arguably most important) benefit of yoga for fibromyalgia pain is mental.

Research shows that yoga increases quality sleep, reduces stress, and calms both mind and body. Yoga helps manage stress by regulating stress hormones with daily practice, and intense yoga produces endorphins, the feel-good hormones in the brains that boost mood.

Recent research into yoga for fibromyalgia 

One of the earliest studies that looked specifically at yoga for fibromyalgia came in 2010. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University found that pain, fatigue, and depression were all significantly