Looking for some gentle exercise for your CFS? Join me on the mat or bed for my yoga class for Chronic Fatigue DVD.

Yoga for chronic fatigue

Hi. Vanessa here. Thanks for joining me today, and today, we’re doing a short yin yoga practice, which is really helpful for chronic fatigue. I had a lot of feedback on my first yoga DVD, which went out last week, and a lot of you out there found it really helpful, and a lot of people with chronic fatigue really enjoyed the video, so I thought I would make something a little bit more specific for you. I hope you enjoy it.

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The Mayo Clinic defines CFS as a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be explained by any underlying medical condition. The fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity but doesn’t improve with rest.

How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosed?

“Chronic fatigue is a diagnosis of exclusion, because there are many other medical problems that have symptoms similar to it,” says Arthur Hartz, M.D., Ph.D., a CFS researcher and professor of family medicine at the Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City. “There’s no test, and that’s a major deficiency. Without a test, there’s always going to be debate about whether the condition is more than a psychological problem.”

The major illness doctors need to exclude are:

  1. Thyroid problems
  2. Depression
  3. Sleep disorders
  4. Mental illness
  5. Chronic mononucleosis
  6. Eating disorders
  7. Cancer
  8. Autoimmune disease
  9. Hormonal disorders

Those that are experienceing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome must have at least four symptoms from the following list:

  1. Fatigue that has lasted for 6months or longer.
  2. substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration.
  3. sore throat.
  4. tender lymph nodes.
  5. muscle pain.
  6. multi-joint pain without swelling or redness.
  7. headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity.
  8. unrefreshing sleep.
  9. malaise lasting more than 24 hours after exertion. 

If you are experiencing four or more of these symptoms you should go and see your local doctor.

Can You Exercise With CFS?

Exercise is important, even if you have chronic fatigue syndrome. In fact, the right kind of exercises can help you keep muscle strength and tone despite severe fatigue.

The wrong type of exercise can leave you sicker than when you started.

Dr. Nancy Klimas has treated people with ME/CFS for 30 years. This is what she says about CFS and the theory that you can’t exercise: “That’s just not true. You can exercise, but you have to be extremely cautious. And it will not cure you.

Even just a small amount of exercise or simple exertion can make some people much sicker.

If a doctor sends a patient to the gym to do endurance exercise, that’s going to be a disaster,” Klimas says. “Doctors do that all the time, and these patients get much, much worse.”

Can Yoga Help With Chronic Fatigue?

Dr Hartz’s research shows that mild exercise in th form of yoga was the most helpul treatment for people with CFS. Other means tested were, medical prescription, pshycotherapy and holistic medicine.

That’s one for yoga zero for meds. Yay. 

What Is The Best Yoga Practice For Fibromyalgia?

A gentle Yin practice is restorative for the body as well as a gentle inversion practice.

According to Dr Hartz, who was interviewed by The Yoga Journal “as many as 60 to 70 percent of CFS patients have neurologically mediated postural hypotension, —which means their blood pressure drops when they’re standing. Doctors ordinarily treat this condition with medications that increase blood volume, but Hartz says inversions are an intriguing nondrug treatment.”

CFS Yoga Practice

Today, we’re going to start in seated meditation. Take your pillow, and place it under your sit bones. It allows a more comfortable position for you to begin your meditation with. Perhaps you’d like to set the intention for your practice today, whether it’s to feel more energy, to feel a little calmer, or to feel more peaceful. Your intention is personal to you.

Yoga For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Our First Post Is Seated Butterfly.

You want to bring your heels to touch, and you stay seated on your sit bones. Bring your heels as close in towards your body as you can, but remember, be gentle. Don’t push yourself. Take your cushions, and place them in your lap. You’re simply going to allow your body to fold over. Take your head to one side. Allow the upper body to sink into the cushions below you.

Simply rotating the head and placing it to the other side of the body, allowing the head and neck to fully let go.

Yoga For Chronic Fatigue SyndromeHeart Opener

Gently roll up the spine, vertebrae by vertebrae, you’re going to take your cushions and place them behind your chest. We’re going to keep our legs in the butterfly position, and we’re going to slowly recline onto the cushions, allowing the head to hang over the edge, and using the cushions to open the heart and the chest. Let this gentle pose open your heart.

Forward Fold

Yoga For Chronic Fatigue SyndromeSlowly coming up, vertebrae by vertebrae, until you’re in a seated position, and you’re going to bring both legs out in front of you. We’re going to place the cushions once again onto the thighs, and slowly, vertebrae by vertebrae, bring your upper body down until you’re lying flat on your cushion. Don’t worry if your knees are slightly bent as long as both legs are extended in front of you.

Yin practice is to allow the body to sink deep and gently into the poses. It’s not time to push yourself. It’s a time to be gentle, loving, and caring. Gently rotating the head to the other side, taking a breath, and allowing yourself to let go, sink deeper into the pose.

On the inhale, slowing coming up, vertebrae by vertebrae. Take your cushions to one side, and turn around.

Gentle Inversion

Yoga For Chronic Fatigue SyndromeWe’re going to go into a gentle inversion with our legs up the wall, so bringing your hips nice and close towards your bed or toward the wall, and gently placing your feet up nice and high for your inversion. If it feels more comfortable for you, you can keep the knees bent. Just go with what feels right.






Option Deaf Mans Pose

Yoga For Chronic Fatigue SyndromeYou have the option to stay here, or you can move into a gentle Deaf Man’s Pose. Bend the knees. Place your hands under the hips, and you’re going to bring your feet forward until your toes touch above the head, then gently through the knees so that one knee rests between the earlobes and shoulders on each side. Push the back of the neck deep into the surface below you. You’ll find this will take any pressure off the throat area.

Come out of this pose, engage your core, and slowly roll the spine down, vertebrae by vertebrae. You should find yourself positioned in your gentle inversion once again. This time, we’re going to take a heart-opening inversion. Just like in the butterfly, we’re going to place the cushions or pillows underneath the chest, once again, allowing the heart to open.

Last, but not least, gently sliding your legs down the wall, taking your cushion, placing it in between your knees, placing your head on your pillow, and gently allowing yourself to let go. Enjoy your well-earned Savasana.


If you enjoy an at-home yoga practice then you might want to check out my post on yoga music that will move your heart.

Share this practice with a friend if you think they will enjoy it.

Jadore Vanessa

Vanessa Barthelmes.

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