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Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis Paperback – May 28, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"...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 MS, it also offers something even more important: hope. To say this book will become a classic is an understatement." --Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT, yoga teacher since 1971, and author of six books on yoga (Judith "Lasater PhD, PT" "PhD, PT, yoga teacher since 1971, and author of six books on yoga" 20100503)

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).

Eric L. Small was born in Avalon, Catalina Island and completed his BA at UCLA and earned a Master of Fine Arts at Otis Institute. He holds a Junior Intermediate Level Three Certificate from the B.K.S. Iyengar Institute in Puna, India. Eric also conducts teacher training workshops in therapeutic yoga around the United States.

With the support of the Southern California Chapter of the MS Society the Eric Small Yoga Program has, for the past five years, served hundreds of clients at 13 different sites and is part of the regular program offered at the Marilyn Hilton Achievement Center for the Southern California Chapter of the MS Society, at UCLA. His work was recognized in 1999 with the Hope For MS Award and in 2001 by his induction into the National MS Society Volunteer Hall of Fame. He was the 2002 Dorothy Corwin Spirit of Life Award recipient for Outstanding Volunteer Service to MS patients, presented at the MS Dinner of Champions on September 17, 2002.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Demos Health; 1 edition (May 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932603174
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932603170
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Wells on June 29, 2007
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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