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Int J Yoga. 2019 Sep-Dec;12(3):206-217. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_72_18.

The Impact of a Daily Yoga Program for Women with Fibromyalgia.

Author information

Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Medical Toxicology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by widespread pain, sleep disturbance, negative affect, and stress and is notably difficult to treat. Individuals with FM have lower physical activity and endorse fears that exercise may worsen pain. Gentle daily yoga practice may allow a gradual increase in activity and positively impact many of these FM symptoms. This qualitative study investigated the impact of participation in a pilot trial of group and daily individual home yoga intervention on women with FM.

Materials and Methods:

Fifteen individuals participated in telephone interviews after participating in the yoga intervention, which included semi-structured questions to elicit insights and impressions of their experience. Responses were systematically coded and themes identified.


Five themes were identified: (1) physical/body perceptual changes, (2) practices affecting pain, (3) emotional changes, (4) practice motivators and barriers, and (5) group effect. Participants not only reported reductions in FM symptoms, including pain and stress, but also a positive impact on mood, sleep, and self-confidence.


Participants enumerated both physical and psychological impact of starting yoga practice. Specific helpful poses and practices and important barriers were identified. Group practice and social connection with others with other FM patients was an important benefit to participants.


Fibromyalgia; pain; sleep; social support; stress; yoga

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