Yoga is an ancient practice that involves purposeful movements, mindfulness, and mental and physical awareness.
Yoga is an art, taking time and patience to perfect. However, those who dedicate the time reap the abundant rewards found in Yoga practice.
Many chronic pain sufferers find pain relief and pain control through regular Yoga practice. Yoga focuses on breathing, releasing body tensions, changing the way the body responds to the pain and changing the way the mind views the pain. The different poses and stretches, combined with focused breathing makes it difficult to zero in on the pain. The goal is for your mind to lose focus of the pain, pushing the pain sensation to the back of your mind where it will seem less intense. With ongoing practice, you can push the pain so far back that it all but dissolves into the background of the conscious mind.
Yoga practice is also beneficial in combating anxiety, which is often coupled with chronic pain. When you live with pain as a daily reality, the stress of the pain flaring up, becoming worse, or the fear of the pain limiting your ability to complete you daily functions can lead to anxiety. With Yoga, the mind is trained to calm and quiet down, decreasing anxiety and again, gaining perspective.
The different poses also offer a chronic pain sufferer the opportunity for self-correction. Many times, our movement and positions are tense, and without realizing it, will increase our pain and discomfort. We are so used to these positions and movements that we may not realize that it is actually making our pain worse. Because Yoga offers the smooth, slow and rhythmic changes in position and posture, we are made to discover alternative and less painful body stances. Our body tension is decreased, allowing us to use muscles and movements with a little more ease, which we can then incorporate into our daily life.
It is important to consult with your primary care physician before starting a new exercise regimen. You should not push your body further that it is able to go comfortably. Yoga is not meant to cause or aggravate pain and all Yoga poses can be modified to fit your specific capabilities.