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Do You Work With Persons Living With Multiple Sclerosis? Learn More About How Yoga Therapy Can Help You Help Them!
By: Nataliya Zlotnikov, HBSc, MSc

The Case of Boredom

Have any of your patients ever told you that they didn't do your home exercise prescription because they got bored? Or perhaps because they weren't seeing results as fast as they would have liked to?

Maybe even in your own life, attending or instructing fitness classes, you find that too much repetition bores you.

Causes of boredom include factors such as monotony, repetitiveness, lack of novelty, low task identity, having little to do, and tasks that are too simple (van Hooff & van Hooft, 2018).


Do You Work With Persons Living With Progressive Neurological Conditions?

And while we all need to explore the realm of the new to keep our body and mind fresh, for those with progressive neurological conditions, keeping things interesting and challenging has to be done in a different and specific way.

These individuals have no option but to build new pathways since the older roads have become blocked.

For individuals living with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), this blocking of older roads may hamper ambulation, cognitive processing, memory, and emotional regulation.


Working With Persons Living With MS Is Nuanced Work

While working with persons with MS, we must work adaptively to spark fresh and unusual ways of linking movement, mind, and breath, without fatiguing the student.


Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis 

In 2010, Robin Rothenberg, yoga teacher (30+ years), yoga therapist (20+ years), was commissioned by a hospital outside of Seattle to develop a program for MS.

Today's blog is based on her online course, Bushwhacking New Pathways; Therapeutic Considerations for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Population.

This course was recorded at the Montreal International Symposium on Therapeutic Yoga (MISTY) in March of 2019.


Try This!

Now, let's get a little active. We've been sitting in front of our screens for far too long. 

Let's test out our own proprioception and interoception! 

Raise your arms.

Without looking, can you feel whether your arms are in front of your ears, behind them, or in line with them? Can you feel whether one arm is higher than the other? That's proprioception. 

Keep your hands up. 

Can you feel whether your hands are hot or cold to the same degree? As you hold your arms up, can you feel whether there is some tension growing in your neck or jaw? That's interoception. 


Research shows that as a person's prorio- and interoception increase, their pain decreases.

Yoga focuses on increasing awareness to decrease suffering - the perfect therapy tool.

And Robin's therapeutic approach does just that. She aims to increase both the clients' proprio- and interoception, as you will see in the video segment below. 


A Treat

We've got a treat for you! Included as part of this course is a 68-minute, Yoga Therapy for MS session with Robin. 

We've also included a 3-minute segment of the class here.

In this short video from Robin’s course, we invite you to try a little of the standing work that she does in her class as she takes us through the exercises while clearly explaining what she does in each step and why.   


Learn more with Robin Rothenberg


Key Elements You Will Learn In This Course: 

  • Ways to sequence, that encourage cognitive processing
  • How to build kinetic chains that help students re-member parts that have been ‘off-line’
  • The importance of core engagement to maintain stability
  • Using the breath to decrease inflammation and increase oxygenation to the brain
  • Alternation of focus to prevent fatigue and over-exertion.


Person, Not Diagnosis 

When working with persons who are living with multiple sclerosis, other progressive neurological conditions, or most conditions for that matter, it is truly important to keep in mind that this is a person with a condition, it is not who they are.  

We must remember that clients we see, or patients we treat are people before all else, and we must treat them with respect, not dehumanize them, labelling them solely as their condition. 

Below are a few of the dos and don'ts of working with a person with MS or other progressive neurological conditions from Robin's course:


  • Pity 
  • Dehumanize


  • Support the person, rather than thinking of them as a person with a condition 
  • Remember that there is a wholeness to them, their condition is just one piece
  • Learn what is important to them
  • Learn what is bothering them today, it might not be the condition 


More Neurological and Seniors' Health Education on Embodia 

If you would like to take a look at some more of our online neuroscience-related healthcare courses on Embodia, click here

And if you would like to take a look at some of our online healthcare courses related to seniors' health, please click here



If you are looking for additional yoga resources, we invite you to take a look at our blog, Why Your Patients Need Yoga Therapy! The Top 10 Yoga and Pain Science Resources for Healthcare Practitioners and Yoga Therapists.



van Hooff, M.L.M and van Hooft E.A.J. (2018). The state of boredom: Frustrating or depressing? Motivation and Emotion, 42: 931-46. 


Date written: 15 June 2021
Last update: 16 June 2021 

Robin Rothenberg
C-IAYT, Director of EYT
Robin Rothenberg is the program director and founder of Essential Yoga Therapy, an IAYT Accredited Training Program. Robin served as Chair of the Accreditation Committee for the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) until '07, and remains on the Advisory Council. She is considered one of the foremost experts in the area of yoga therapy for lower back pain and annually teaches her Essential Low Back Training Program based on her book by the same name and the NIH-protocol she co-designed. Her ability to speak articulately to the way in which yoga impacts the nervous system, mind and emotions has led to her presenting at both NAMA (National Ayurvedic & Medical Association) and SYTAR on the subjects of anxiety and stress. In 2010 she was commissioned by a hospital outside to Seattle to develop a program for MS which has grown to be highly successful. Robin has spent the last three years deeply studying the impact of breath on our physiologic health and mind. She is writing a book, "Restoring Prana: A therapeutic Guide to Pranayama and Healing Through the Breath ", Singing Dragon publishers, due out in spring 2019. The breath informs all of her therapeutic work and is particularly critical in her work with those living with inflammatory, chronic pain and auto-immune conditions.

Helene Couvrette
Co-Founder, President of MISTY

Her passion for yoga inspired her to share yoga with a few friends in the basement of one of whom eventually lost her battle with cancer. She soon realized her love of yoga could only be surpassed by the desire to share it with others & the joy of seeing them benefit from yoga on many levels.

In 2002 just after delivering a stillborn boy Helene embarked on a 200hr YTT Certification Course. During 2003 she continued the training at same time began teaching yoga at the St. Lazare Community Center. Helene continues to teach regular yoga classes with a therapeutic approach, offers Private Yoga Therapy Sessions & mentors a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training. Winter of 2018 she will introduce an Advanced Yoga Teacher Training focusing on Therapeutics.

Helene is also co-founder of this international conference bringing health care professionals & yoga therapist together with the mission of integrating yoga into the Canadian health care system.

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