If you talk with someone who lives with MS about their symptoms, you’ll hear them say, “My MS is ______ sided.” MS symptoms are often more predominant on one side than the other. My MS is right-sided, so as a result the left side compensates. For me, right-sided leg spasms lead to left-sided hip pain. Asymmetrical Uttanasana is one of my favorite yoga poses for MS.  The asymmetry provides for a very deep stretch in the glutes and hamstrings that in my case pacifies the spasms in my quadriceps. This pose also illustrates the vast difference of flexibility between one side and the other, giving me guidance on where to go next in my practice. See the pose below, or in the Quick Fix for Hips video.

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Ada-Reva Spae

After a diagnosis of MS in 1997, I realized that yoga was doing more for me than just keeping the body- mind-spirit triad in check - it was also minimizing symptoms and preventing progression. I wanted to share with others in the same or similar navasana ( otherwise known as boat.) I spent August of 2000 in yoga boot camp at the Kripalu center in Lenox, MA. In addition, I earned a Masters in Nursing Education in 2001. I combined both disciplines to offer adaptive yoga for people with chronic illness and disability. When I walked into Maura Barclay's Yoga Tune Up® class I had no idea what I was getting into. It was love at the first roll of a Therapy Ball, and an MS symptom I could not shake for over a year disappeared overnight. Eight months later I took the Level One Certification with Maura and now Yoga Tune Up® infuses every class I teach.

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Mel C Russo

Thank you for sharing this. I have a friend with MS and I’ve often wanted to share Yoga with him but wasn’t sure how to approach his ailments. It’s good to know that I can ask about the exact pain and discomfort and come up with creative ways to ease his pain.

Lorena

Thank you for sharing your experience. I have only encountered one person with MS in yoga this past year. But the idea of Asymmetrical Uttananasana using a block is great. I will keep that in mind! It sounds super helpful!

isabelle deschenes

Nice to fine some stuff about MS, and someone who what it is to live with that.
Thanks for sharring.

Robert Ouellet

“MS symptoms are often more predominant on one side than the other.” write by Ada-Reva Spae is a discovery for me. Asymmetrical Uttanasana will be include more often in my hatha class.In addition with the ball therapy, me and my student will explore some new way to restaure our body and by the same time our mind. Merci

M. Summer Zaffino

Do you find the proprioception is difficult? For example, the right foot drop is causing the left side to compensate. Are you feeling pain or unbalanced? With MS is it difficult to feel where the body is in space? My Mother-In_Law talks about her foot sometimes feels like it is going through the floor. I think this pose may be very helpful for her to gain some awareness in her pelvis when this sensation of sinking foot happens. Question number two, Momma Bear also has a significant amount of tension in the body from over compensating such as what you… Read more »

aniela eva

I know almost nothing about MS and Im glad someones tuening on lights and thri there personal story of recovery can help others. Chemicals or pills are not the only answer and are often not the cure. I also had no idea about YTU and was also love at first roll. Helping release and empower me what no medical doctor has been close to be able to. Inspiring

Tam

Thank you Ada for continuing to share you journey and your experience and how to incorporate YTU poses.

Ada-Reva

Hi Dana,

Thank you for your post. In regards to hot yoga it is not typically recommended MS. Heat in general is very hard for people with MS. Heat and physical activity could not only be difficult it could potentially be dangerous. Also, I am interested in the school in CA you referred to if you have any info please send it along.

Dana Healey

Hi Ade-Reva, I was approached by someone who wanted a special yoga class for people with multiple sclerosis and was told that there is an organization that specifically teaches this for free in California. What do you think about MS and hot yoga?

karen

Great article, I had know idea the symptoms from MS could be one sided. I have friends with MS that will benefit from this wonderful asymmetrical pose.

Janie Hickman

I never knew MS is often one sided. Very interesting article, I will pass it on to a friend who has MS.

Kimberly Greeff

Thank you! I have several students with MS and appreciate the insight from someone who knows and also integate Yoga Tune Up into everything I teach!

Karen

Thanks so much for your blog. I am a clinician who works with clients with neurological conditions and it is very encouraging to hear how the techniques have benefitted you. Stories like yours encourage me to delve deeper in to my Yoga Tune Up journey to expand my knowledge base and add tools to my tool box to use with clients so that they too may benefit!

Stacey Rosenberg

Thank you for this. I have had students with MS from time to time. This is a pose I have fallen in love with but I did not realize it was good for MS. What about scoliosis?

Chrissy CM

I recently had a student with MS come to class. Thanks for giving me more insight. I also love how this stretch gets deeper into the gluteus medius as well as down the side of the leg for me.

Ada-Reva Spae

Thanks Jason, I am really glad you found this information useful.

Jason Campbell

I really like when YTU blog posts are about specific diseases, because often as teachers we don’t have a lot of knowledge about specifics for various diseases. This post gave me an immediate better understanding of what students with MS are going through. Thank you!

Ada-Reva Spae

Isn’t it eye opening…Some YTY poses are sheer gold, and often bring us to unexpected places. I do this pose often and you know, I have felt a shift. I feel my right and left side coming into some semblance of balance. I get excited about any and all shifts toward equanimity!

Linh Taylor

As I have a very deep forward fold and don’t often feel the stretch in my hamstring and glutes. I found this asymmetrical uttanasana even with my knees bent allow me to stretch the glutes. And you’re right, one leg definitely feels so different from the other. I like how this variation brings out the imbalance in our legs.

Ada-Reva Spae

Nadjiba,

I think this would be great for sciatica, you get such an awesome stretch in the glutes and hamstrings. I prescribed it for my sister who has sciatic pain. It’s all about balance I think asymetrical poses are the best.

Ada-Reva Spae

Amanda,

Thank you for your post. My favorite ball technique for quieting Quads was the miracle technique that I learned in my first YTU class. The one where you kneel and compress the balls between the hammies and the gastrocnemius, Then strum the hamstrings as you shift hips from side to side. Move the balls down inch by inch first compressing then strumming until you are just above the achillies tendon. This was what totally eliminated the spasms in my right quads after one class.

Nadjiba Medjaoui

Can we use this pose for sciatica sincee it is an asymmetric injury and it leads to a contraction of the gluts and hamstrings?
thanks for the article!

Christina

Although I don’t have MS, I have my own chronic disease – Crohn’s. And while it doesn’t necessarily cause symptoms on one side of the body, I can relate to the imbalance that you are talking about. I even commented today about how my left side is my “lame” side. If I have pain or problems, it tends to show up in the left hip, leg, stomach, etc. I found the Asymmetrical Uttanasana soothing as well. I felt much more balanced after doing this pose – not just in my hips, but in my whole left side.

Amanda

Thank you this insight. I found it really interesting when you mentioned how the deep stretch in the glutes and hamstrings pacify the spasms in the quadriceps. Are there other YTU ball techniques you might use to pacify the quads when they are in spasm?