Visualisation, yoga and MS
Tips for visualising yoga and why it works for Multiple Sclerosis and other chronic illnesses.
So, you think you can’t visualise? So did I but visualisation became (and still is) the backbone of my practice. I still wake every morning at 5am and visualise postures, sequences and/or energy flow through my body for an hour before I meditate – all before I get out of bed.
We have all heard of visualising an abundant future, a car park in a crowded city, maybe tumours shrinking or images to enhance relaxation or meditation, or even athletes using visualisation in training (and they are all valid uses of visualising) but when my teachers told me I could visualise yoga to join the yoga teacher training course I thought they mad – nice but mad.
Anyway, I must have been mad as well because I started the teacher training course two months later, in my wheelchair. They said that I may even be at an advantage because I wouldn’t get distracted by my body not being able to do it perfectly – funny.
And, well, they were right. I visualised yoga postures and eventually I could do yoga postures, and in the meantime I experienced increasing peace through my day – the more I visualised, relaxed and meditated, the more peaceful I felt. Visualising also improved my cognitive function and concentration.
Let’s clarify what I mean by visualising yoga:
Visualise yourself doing the actual yoga posture.
This can be achieved by ‘seeing’ yourself doing it as if watching a third person doing it; seeing yourself doing it from the inside; or finally (and the most challenging, initially) feel the effects of doing the posture; or for some people hearing the instructions works well too.
We all have imaginations that work on some level of our senses and visualising is just another word for imagining, however you do it best. In my book, A Journey to Peace through Yoga, I describe doing yoga using all these facets of imagination and now often I go to the reason I might want to do a posture and work with my mind directly to have the effect – actual postures are more for fun these days.
I would love to hear about your experiences.