Best known for his hot Power Vinyasa style, super-star Yogi, Baron Baptiste has teamed up with a leading authority on Multiple Sclerosis, Dr. Elliot Frohman to develop a yoga program for people living with MS. The video called My MS Yoga is an at home practice designed to address the specific needs of MS patients as they change from day to day.
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The creators of the video and it’s corporate owner, Biogen IDEC, a Fortune 500 biotechnology company and leading MS pharmaceutical corporation and sponsor, Elan, also a biotechnology company that produces medications for MS, are offering the video free of charge while supplies last to those who register on the My MS Yoga website.
Other yoga instructors have created yoga videos for people with MS, but Baptiste is the first to team up with the pharmaceutical industry to create a yoga offering. Baptiste is best known for his challenging, sweat-inducing power vinyasa classes and his popular “Boot camps,” which are intensive practices of Power Vinyasa, meditation, diet and activity. Baptiste’s signature style is much different than the unique needs of MS patients, but in the introduction to the video series Baptise addresses the adaptation factor of yoga for MS patients. He addresses the heat sensitivity that MS patients often experience, and claims to address these individual needs in the series.
Dr. Frohman encourages patients to exercise, mentally and physically, in addition to finding a manageable treatment plan. Using yoga as the physical exercise approach and the possibility of day-to-day differences, the My MS Yoga program offers 3 different videos that address foundation, restoration and transformation. From the sound of the introduction, it sounds as if the video series are well researched and presented.
Most, if not all, MS patients have a medical treatment plan in order to manage the disease and improve their quality of life. Just as with many other physical and neurological ailments, a successful medical treatment plan is essential. Dr. Frohman states that “drugs have a place,” but encourages other forms of treatment and support are valid and empowering.
In truth, I was, and to a point, am skeptical. Not about the power of yoga in supporting and dealing with MS, but in the sponsorship of the video series. I do not have much exposure to Mr. Baptiste, so I have to trust that the right teacher was chosen for the job, and not merely because of his level of fame or marketability. But, amazing videos and teachers are currently accessible for patients with MS, without the backing of any major pharmaceutical corporations. Without having seen the videos, it is difficult to ascertain the motives of the creators and sponsors.
What I do know is that yoga is a powerful tool, regardless of the package. And, to make it accessible, and free is a gift to the hundreds of thousands of people living with MS in the US. As long and the participants are clear about the source, then the asanas and techniques are universal and can be applied to your life in a positive way. One of the greatest gifts of this practice is discernment, one which can effectively be applied in this case, I hope.