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Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis: A Journey to Health and Healing [Paperback]

Loren Martin Fishman , B. Phil , Eric Small
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 24 2007

Yoga for people with multiple sclerosis? Absolutely! Today, people with a wide range of medical problems use yoga successfully. Because of its emphasis on relaxation, breathing, and deliberate movement, it can be especially beneficial for individuals dealing with a neurologic disease like multiple sclerosis.

Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis, coauthored by Dr. Loren Martin Fishman and Eric Small, a yoga teacher who first embraced these techniques as a way to manage his own symptoms of multiple sclerosis, is a comprehensive guide to applying the principles of yoga to the management of MS. The first section is a straightforward but gentle introduction to yoga - a therapeutic approach to the practice itself. The second part is functionally oriented. Different yoga poses that work toward a common goal, such as combating fatigue, reducing spasticity, and increasing range of motion, are included and illustrated. This user-friendly guide

  • Describes how yoga works
  • Includes photographs and descriptions of each pose
  • Explains effects, advantages, and contraindications
  • Contains starter poses that will help the uninitiated or physically challenged to gently achieve a posture

      Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis: A Journey to Health and Healingis an excellent guidebook and tool for people with MS, people who undertake yoga on their own, and for all members of the medical and yoga communities.


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    Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis: A Journey to Health and Healing + Cooking Well: Multiple Sclerosis: Over 75 Easy and Delicious Recipes for Nutritional Healing + Managing Multiple Sclerosis Naturally
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    Review

    ..".A must-have book... It offers hope, inspiration, adaptive practices for all levels of mobility and ability, and reasons why yoga works for particular symptoms. For yoga teachers, this book offers valuable practices and insights that teachers can use to make yoga accessible and appropriate for students who have multiple sclerosis and other health challenges. For the medical community, this book offers great visuals for adaptive yoga postures and explanations for how yoga works, from a peer with years of experience in the field of rehabilitation."--International Journal of Yoga Therapy"Encompasses every aspect of using yoga with MS, no matter where your disease has taken you... I recommend this book as a worthwhile purchase to use to increase our abilities to move throughout days better and take care of our bodies to make living with MS less stressful."--MS World..".An invaluable book that will serve the MS population and the people who work with them on their path to improved health... A useful refresher for those immersed in the field and an introduction and addition to hands-on training for those interested in the realm of therapeutic yoga."--LA Yoga Magazine"Ideal for the non-specialist general reader, Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis describes how yoga works. The text is enhanced with photographs and descriptions of each yoga pose... An important acquisition for personal and community libraries, Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis is especially recommended for those who are experiencing symptoms across the MS spectrum."--Midwest Book Review"For decades, yoga teachers all over the United States have acknowledged the work of Eric Small as the ultimate in helping them work with their own students with MS. No doubt they are now celebrating because Small and long-time yoga student and back expert Loren Fishman, MD, have produced the definitive book on the topic. Not only does this book offer insight into yoga practice and self-transformation for those living with M

    About the Author

    Loren Martin Fishman, MD, BPhil attended Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical School and received his certification to teach yoga from the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Poona, India. He is Assistant Clinical Professor in Rehabilitation at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and former President, New York Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Treasurer, Manhattan Institute for Cancer Research (Philanthropy).

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    Most helpful customer reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Great read for those with or working with M.S. Feb. 25 2013
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    You know how you must tailor things to your limitations, well, this book does it for you.
    A bit technical at times but very informative.Pictures and instructions are clear.
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
    Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
    36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Bravo, and a few suggestions June 29 2007
    By B. Wells - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    As a longtime yoga practitioner who was diagnosed with MS several years ago, I heartily recommend this book and agree with Ms. Francina's comments, whose own books have been so important to my practice.

    This book is fully illustrated with photographs taken from a variety of angles, demonstrating optimal use of props. The tone of the book is as positive as it is realistic. A variety of modifications are given for each asana, so that people at most levels of mobility can access yoga's benefits. The authors' approach is intelligent, reasoned and multifaceted.

    I would also like to share a few observations and suggestions which I think might make future editions of this fine work even more useful.

    The book assumes full range of motion of the arms. Many people with MS experience brachial nerve pathology as part of their MS symptom complex and cannot raise their arms above the shoulders or extend them forward or backward without exacerbating nerve issues; so it would be great to see arm modifications for some of the poses.

    MS is often complicated by associated, though not necessarily causally related, issues such as osteoarthritis, disc degeneration and herniation, spinal stenosis, stiffly rounded posture, musculoskeletal overcompensation, etc., which bring their own problems. Some poses -- even generally safe modifications of classical asanas -- are contraindicated for people dealing with particular conditions, and it would be helpful to see a sentence or two with that sort of distinguishing information alongside each pose. To be sure, the authors frequently and correctly urge the reader to work with a qualified yoga instructor, but in many locations one is hard-pressed to find experienced teachers trained in the use of therapeutic yoga.

    While each pose is well illustrated with photographs, it is sometimes difficult to know which photograph accompanies which text description; it would be very helpful for the photographs to be assigned figure numbers, so that they could be specifically referenced in the text.

    Lastly, I hope that in the future a section can be included that will describe how to actually structure and sequence a yoga practice, especially in light of the variability of MS symptoms.

    Eric Small's dedicated, compassionate service to his fellow beings, born out of personal experience, is well known, and he and Dr. Fishman have produced a long-anticipated and much-needed contribution to the field of therapeutic yoga. I am very grateful for their work.
    21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Eric Small and Dr. Loren Fishman! June 11 2007
    By Suza Francina - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    As one of hundreds of yoga teachers across the US who has experienced workshops with Eric Small, I am thrilled at the publication of his and Dr. Loren Fishman's long-awaited book.

    Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 55 years ago at age 22, Eric holds a senior intermediate level certificate from BKS Iyengar. A master in making accessible the art of yoga to those with individual needs, limited mobility and neurological conditions, including MS, Eric teaches how to adapt and practice classical postures, using wheelchairs or chairs.

    Loren is an Assistant Clinical Professor in Rehabilitation at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. A longtime student of BKS Iyengar, he has used yoga in his medical practice for more than 25 years, adapting yoga to all sorts of patients and analyzing the physiological means by which yoga is helpful.

    To have their 80+ years of experience and mastery distilled between the covers of a single book is an exceptional educational opportunity.

    Eric writes: "In the mid-1960's I began to hear of BKS Iyengar and his unique approach to yoga. I obtained his book, Light On Yoga, and was fascinated with the application of his vast knowledge to various symptoms and diseases. I became Iyengar's student, followed his recommendations, and was thrilled to notice the improvements in the symptoms I was displaying at that time. After 10 years of study, I became certified to be one of his teachers. It was then that he suggested I begin to teach others like myself. I took up the challenge and my life unfolded to its true potential."

    He adds, "I am not cured. Iyengar yoga has become the tool with which I handle the day-to-day contingencies of living with MS."

    Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis addresses the needs of people experiencing symptoms, from mild to severe, across the MS spectrum, describing how yoga works in terms that novice practitioners - and their doctors --can easily understand. This book is fully illustrated with photographs taken from various angles, demonstrating optimal use of props. A variety of modifications are given for each asana, so that people at most levels of mobility can safely access yoga's benefits. Photographs and descriptions clearly show and explain the effects, advantages, and contraindications of each pose. A preface introduces the reader to yoga philosophy, placing the practice of yoga for MS within the larger context of yoga as a whole. The purpose of this book is how to experience a full and joyful yoga practice.

    The cause of MS is not known, nor is there any known cure. The authors state: "It is impossible to say whether yoga directly addresses MS's pathogenic factors or the process of the illness. Yet there are many examples and some valid studies demonstrating that yoga can be of salutary benefit in each type of MS. It appears that the practice of yoga sets up an antagonistic process that is often more powerful than the degenerative effects of the disease."

    They continue: "Yoga is valuable to people with MS for three reasons. First, the practice of yoga reduces functional deficits. Second, it increases self-reliance and fosters independence and can be carried out independently. And third, it is one of the principal aims, in fact the principle aim of yoga, to steady and quiet the mind."

    While this book serves as the definitive guide for people with MS, the poses and techniques described here apply to numerous other conditions which limit mobility, such as cerebral palsy, stroke, Parkinson's, head trauma or spinal cord injury.

    With this book, chair poses and prop set-ups hastily scribbled in my notebooks from Eric's workshops, are made readily available. Even more importantly, the presentation reflects the deep feeling Eric shows in teaching and in practice. The book, like Eric, sparkles with the joy of yoga.

    Of special value are what the authors call "entry level" poses, which enable the physically challenged novice to safely practice and experience the benefit of a yoga posture. Coverage of the infinite potential of yoga shown in Chapter 2, "Wheelchair Series" and 3, "Chair Series," is far more ingenious and comprehensive than in any other book I have seen.

    I highly recommend this book not only to practitioners, but to yoga teachers, health professionals, parents of children with MS, and those with aging parents. Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis definitely belongs at the top of the list of required reading for Yoga Teacher Training programs worldwide.

    I wholeheartedly agree with other reviewers that Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis is destined to be a classic!

    Note: The book contains a 20% off coupon code for Eric Small's Yoga video/dvd. For more information visit [...]

    Suza Francina is author of The New Yoga for People Over 50; Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause; and The New Yoga for Healthy Aging.

    (This new review appears in the Fall/Winter 2007 issue of YOGA VIDYA, Journal of the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Association of Southern California.)
    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars yoga and multiple sclerosis June 15 2010
    By Mon Bion - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    As an acupuncturist/bodyworker working with clients with early MS, I was hoping to find a resource that I could recommend to someone new to yoga. This book contains a lot of good material, but it assumes too much familiarity with yoga to be useful to the general MS sufferer who is looking for complimentary ways to work with the effects of their illness. The section on chair/wheelchair yoga is good, but anyone new to yoga would need a teacher to guide them into it.

    The book is not well organized; it actually seems like parts of 2 articles spliced together. The material about why/how yoga is helpful for someone with MS, which I expected at the opening of the book, is not mentioned until later on and then is not clearly presented. Actually, Loren Fishman's other book on "Yoga and Arthritis" is much more helpful to yoga teacher and potential practitioner - with arthritis or or any other structural issues or those hoping to avoid future problems.
    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Eric Small is a gifted Iyengar teacher and his work shines through in this book! July 7 2007
    By Derek S. Whitefield - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback
    Congratulations to Eric Small and Loren Fishman on this fine book that will help thousands learn and teach yoga postures. I highly recommend this book to MS patients, the disabled, the elderly, and anyone else who is interested in starting the opening and deeping that yoga offers to us all. Superb incites and brilliant photographs showing the ways that Iyengar yoga can be adapted and made available to everyone. This book is a gift. Thanks to Mr. Small and Mr. Fishman for sharing their light with us all. And thanks to their teachers, the teachers before them, and their teachings.
    11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A LONG-AWAITED BOOK July 12 2007
    By Alison West - Published on Amazon.com
    Format:Paperback
    For those with MS, Loren Fishman and Eric Small's well-illustrated book offers substantial help in coping with this illness in both its relapsing-remitting and progressive forms through the practice of Yoga, the benefits of which are grounded in solid research and long experience. Eric Small is a living testament to the power of Yoga. Loren Fishman has practiced Yoga for decades as well and is also featured in the book along with Eric Small and other Yoga practitioners.

    Yoga Therapy is one of the fastest growing forms of Yoga in the US, and with it comes more specialization and focus. BKS Iyengar has been at the forefront of this specialization for decades and Eric Small acknowledges this great master's work at the outset. Students unfamiliar with the use of props typical of Iyengar Yoga are charmingly encouraged to use whatever is at hand, including a bag of flour or rice if a sandbag is unavailable.

    The reader will come away with a clear idea of how to begin a practice appropriate to the student's physical capacity, with illustrations for each level. Loren Fishman's sweeping and lyrical introduction helps set this focused practice within the larger context of Yoga as a whole. Indeed, it is the nature of Yoga Therapy to place the whole person at the center of a whole practice, inviting the student to participate not only as someone with a problem, but as someone with a full life interested in exploring Yoga in all its facets. In other words, this book doesn't show a student just how to use Yoga for MS, but how to have a full Yoga practice with MS.

    I agree with B. Wells that the photographs in the first section could be numbered and related to the text. I would also welcome explanations in the Benefits section for each pose of how the poses actually affect the body. One takes on faith that a pose will help with urinary disorders, for example, but for the interested and curious student, how or why that is would be welcome information.

    This book is accessible and valuable to all, from beginning student to teacher wanting to help a student with MS or a student having suffered stroke or other trauma to the nervous or muscular system. Eric Small's own trajectory through MS and Yoga is inspiring.

    Alison West, Ph.D., Co-Director, Yoga Union Center for Backcare and Scoliosis, NY NY
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