The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (or MS Focus) is holding its first Mind & Mobility festival this month, an event that includes yoga and meditation, talks, information booths on health and support services, and adaptive sessions for those disabled by multiple sclerosis (MS).
The series kicks off with a full day of activities, music and food on March 12 in Fort Lauderdale, before moving to Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., in April and May, respectively. March is MS Education and Awareness Month.
The Florida event is free, and gates open at 8 a.m. Yoga sessions begin at 10 a.m. (Adult participants were, initially, requested to pay a $10 entrance fee, but MS Focus announced on March 9 that the group is now able to waive that charge.)
Yoga and meditation are activities with demonstrated effect in relieving anxiety and helping MS patients manage daily tasks.
“Adaptive yoga for multiple sclerosis involves modifying traditional moves and poses to simply, yet creatively, suit various physical needs for those diagnosed with MS,” Nathalie Sloane, development director at MS Focus, said to Multiple Sclerosis News Today. (Her full interview can be found below. MS Focus also provided a YouTube video on adaptive yoga that can be viewed using this link.)
“In order for those with MS to continue leading productive, independent lives, our Mind and Mobility Yoga Festival intends to show yoga isn’t just a one-size-fits all activity, anyone can benefit from the physical and spiritual healing yoga and meditation provides,” Sloane added.
In addition to guided yoga and meditation sessions with demonstrated techniques, the event includes sponsor booths with information and sample products, and demonstrations, music and entertainment. Food and drink from local restaurants or food trucks will also be available.
MS Focus is seeking sponsors to support these activities, and to donate food or goods for the event participants.
MS Focus, a nonprofit organization, works to provide free services to meet the needs of MS patients and help them to lead productive and independent lives.
In an interview with Multiple Sclerosis News Today, Sloane talked about the importance of yoga and meditation activities in MS, and the goals of the Mind & Mobility Festival. Here is that interview:
Q: What is Adaptive Yoga for MS?
Sloane: Adaptive yoga for multiple sclerosis involves modifying traditional moves and poses to simply, yet creatively, suit various physical needs for those diagnosed with MS (for example — sitting on a chair, laying on a mat, or staying in a wheelchair). These moves can also involve the use of belts, blankets, blocks, straps, and other tools that provide extra support depending on the individual’s capabilities.
Q: Why is Adaptive Yoga important for MS patients?
Sloane: While yoga and meditation are a part of many people’s health routine, it can be particularly helpful for people living with MS due to the unpredictable and increasingly severe symptoms they face daily. The majority of people with MS experience relapses, or ‘flare ups’ of their symptoms, and activities like yoga help to strengthen muscles so that people can bounce back more quickly from these relapses.
These symptoms can create physical and emotional challenges not just for those with MS, but their families as well. The relaxing benefits of yoga and meditation can help improve their quality of life physically and mentally by reducing anxiety, improving circulation, eliminating fatigue, and can also help manage simple tasks that we take for granted daily — such as balancing to stand, or sitting on a chair.
Q: Why is MS Focus hosting this event?
Sloane: Now in our 30th year of providing free services to the MS community, we are constantly thinking through the essential physical, emotional, and financial needs that people with MS face daily, and how we can help.
With approximately 450,000 people living with MS in the United States, and roughly 200 new cases diagnosed every week, we are seeing an increasingly strong need for all-inclusive yoga and meditation to reduce the severe physical conditions MS can put a body through. This is why there is also a growing number of yoga instructors training to provide adaptive poses for multiple health challenges.
In order for those with MS to continue leading productive, independent lives, our Mind and Mobility Yoga Festival intends to show yoga isn’t just a one-size-fits all activity, anyone can benefit from the physical and spiritual healing yoga and meditation provides.
For more information about the event, please visit this link.