Living with anemia creates problems on top of problems. To stay energized and strong you need to exercise, but anemia makes you feel too weak and tired to do an activity. Even if you do find the juice to exercise, the ramifications of the workout can drain you to the point of wondering why you ever tried in the first place.
For many people with anemia, fitness does not feel like an option. It shouldn’t be this way. Everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of a fit and healthy lifestyle.
"...there is a variety of options to choose from when it comes to finding the right type of yoga and yoga instructor for you."
The good news is that there are solutions. In addition to low-impact exercise that helps with strength and endurance, there is some research indicating that certain forms of yoga can also relieve anemia symptoms. Although this research is preliminary, there is no doubt that this form of breathing and stretching provides many health benefits for everybody, but especially for those who are anemic.
Developing the right yoga routine depends on your current fitness, the severity of your anemia and your level of experience with yoga. Anemics have additional considerations, like finding the right yoga instructor.
North America has experienced a yoga boom in the last 20 years, which means that there is a variety of options to choose from when it comes to finding the right type of yoga and yoga instructor for you. That’s why it’s essential to do your research.
Although it has a reputation for being low-impact and mellow, there are forms of yoga that have high-impact results on the body. Consult your doctor to help devise a list of questions to ask yoga instructors so you can find an appropriate teacher.
If you’re anemic, it’s best to avoid instructors who specialize in hot or warm yoga. While these vigorous and exhausting practices are beneficial to the general population, they’re too intense for those weakened by anemia.
Ashtanga and Hatha yoga can also involve intense workouts, but they also focus on the breath. With an attentive instructor who’s aware of your condition, a modified version of these practices may be helpful.
No matter the yoga practice you wind up choosing, it’s vital that your exercise focuses on the breath.
“Pranayamas,” or breathing exercises, help to oxygenate the blood and improve circulation. Though anemia is often caused by a nutrient deficiency or concurrent health problems, “asanas” that encourage oxygen uptake and oxygen flow in the body will improve the constitution of your red blood cells (RBCs). This, in turn, will help fortify your system and improve metabolic processes, including nutrient absorption.
Good breathing poses include Yogendra Pranayama, which focuses on abdominal breathing, Anulom Vilom for the overall oxygenation of the body, and Shavasana (corpse pose), which revitalizes the body through meditation.
No matter what yoga you choose, take it slowly and build up your practice. A good yoga instructor creates relationships with practitioners, so be open and honest about your condition with all of your guides. If you feel dizzy or weak, stop, breath and regroup.
The lovely thing about yoga is that it’s a process — one that can grow with you as you treat and deal with your anemia condition.
Combined with the right diet and the proper supplement, yoga keeps you active and heals your body, all at the same time.
Stop feeling frustrated. Breath, bend and be more active. Let yoga be a tool to help you combat your anemia symptoms. It’s never too late to start.