Chronic pain in your lower back, shoulders, head can make your life miserable. Perhaps you’ve tried Tylenol, Nsaids or other pain relieving medication? There are many bad side effects that come along with the temporary relief that you are feelings from chronic pain.
Pain is exacerbated by the tension we hold when we experience pain. Pain is also caused by chronic tension as the result of stress you are experiencing in your life. For many people the stress tightens the muscles around the places where you are hurting. It’s scary when pain has gotten to a point where the medication provides only temporary or partial relief. It can make it difficult to sleep when you have pain at night.
And the effects of the medication can become worse for your body than the original pain that you have! It turns out that a mindful practice that focuses on releasing tension and relaxing your body is a medication free method to relax your muscle tightness and lessen the pain. It’s probably easier for most people than meditation that just focuses on your breath. And the best part is, it doesn’t have side effects.
It’s YOGA! Yes, slow, mindful, gentle yoga has proven time and again that it is the perfect practice to relieve pain. This is not what you may associate with “real” yoga. It’s not active poses such a warrior, downward dog and other asanas. This type of yoga is a gentle mindful or moving meditative practice where you are lying on the ground, supported with pillows, bolsters and blocks to get your body into the perfect position so you can release tension from your muscles. You will be directed through a series of movements that are slow and repetitive while your mind is focused on releasing the tension in your spine. The central nervous system that runs down your spine has nerves that reach out to all the organs, and this must first be relaxed in order for your body to feel safe and supported enough to let go of tension and really relax!
This yoga practice for pain relief is a lot better than taking medication to try and rid yourself of chronic pain. But just like you have to continue to take medication when you have a chronic condition, in order to improve your level of pain you must practice gentle mindful yoga a few times a week. Just like your home collects dust every day, humans collect tension from events during their day. Yoga “dusts” out the stress and allows your body to restore health and wellbeing! Furthermore, even though you can ease the tension one day, with long years of experiencing habitual tight muscles from stress, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of the tension in just one session. It’s likely to come back until you have begun a new habit of relaxing that muscle group. And you might not even notice where in your body that you are “uptight” until you spend some time in gentle yoga mindfully scanning your body and trying to gently move those areas in your body where you hold tension.
Under the effect of stress, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol which can initiate very serious effects inside your body, including heart disease, thinning bones and muscles, diabetes, and a host of other chronic disorders and diseases. Cortisol can even cause an increase in belly fat, and prevent weight loss.
It is in your best interest for your health and wellbeing to allocate a time and place in your day to gift yourself time to relieve stress and tension. After a short time you will look forward to this practice in your life and definitely feel and see the benefits!
For many women, one of the surprising benefits of a mindful meditative yoga practice is unintentional weight loss. As the stress is relieved and tension leaves your body, without any dieting the excess weight just disappears all by itself. (but if you are dieting, this positive effect will be sabotaged- see my book Diet Industry Lies, to see why).
Chronic pain will begin to lessen in strength and duration as reported by women who have started this practice. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter to be contacted when I release my new audio instructional program of “Relax and Heal Yoga”.