What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple sclerosis is a complex disease with both autoimmune and neurological components. As with other autoimmune diseases the immune system targets healthy cells, in this case healthy cells in the central nervous system which includes the brain and spinal nerves.
MS becomes a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from person to person and from time to time in the same person. For example, one person may experience abnormal fatigue, while another might have severe vision problems. A person with MS could have loss of balance and muscle coordination making walking difficult. MS is generally diagnosed between the ages 20-50, and two thirds more women than men develop the disease.
As a person who has MS and a yoga practitioner for most of my life, I know that I would not be as healthy as I am without the benefit of yoga. I developed Teaching Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis (TAYMS) to educate yoga teachers about MS - what it is, how it affects people, what to look out for and how to work with students who can have very different symptoms from time to time and different from other people who have MS. Some students who have MS don't need a modified class. Some do. Some must not get onto the floor because they may not be able to get back up or risk injury, etc.
Teaching Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis (TAYMS) is offered as continuing education / training for yoga teachers and health care professionals who are interested in offering yoga to students who may have limited access or ability to attend traditional yoga classes. Many of the teachers who have taken this training are now teaching specialized classes for students who have MS or more skillfully include students who have MS in multi-level classes. Teachers who take this training will have additional tools to assist their students and to creatively address the many different stressors and limitations that can result from having MS. Skills and tools from this program are also relevant for many other student populations.
In 2018, TAYMS will include a new student centered component called Living Well With MS. This program will be offered in a series format by teachers trained in TAYMS50. We offer education, tools and support to empower individuals to live well with MS.