Did you know? Yoga Therapy can Reduce Pain in the Muscles and Joints

Pain in the muscles and joints can be due to an old injury (herniated disk for example), compensation for a body structure (scoliosis for example), habit (sitting incorrectly at a computer for example), or stress (lifting the shoulders to the ears for example). We can also have pain with no diagnosed cause.

How does yoga therapy help reduce pain and offer a return to a pain free existence? We increase range of motion, strengthen weak muscles, and stretch tight muscles. We retrain the nervous system to experience less pain. We help the mind to localize pain (sometimes pain spreads out due to spasming around the joints and muscle structures). We promote well being throughout the body.

What does yoga therapy look like for pain? We’ll start by identifying where there might be reduced range of motion using poses from the Joint Freeing Series. We’ll then identify weak muscles and tight/contracted muscles. We will then do some vinyasa type movements where the breath is linked to movements (localize and regulate our response to pain), then some hold poses to strengthen the weak muscles and hold poses to stretch the tight muscles. Every practice ends with rest to integrate the movements.

The cool thing is that through all this we also strengthen the mind. By moving purposely, we teach the mind what movements get us out of pain and which cause us more pain. This gives us more strength, focus, clarity, and balance. We learn and we feel more empowered.

This could be all we do. But we might, and this is the true super power of yoga therapy and what makes it different from other healing modalities, address other issues that we are facing. We could add in techniques that help with many other conditions like anxiety, depression, and/or autoimmune. Yoga therapy helps with healing across the body, mind, and spirit. It is truly remarkable.

Below is a meditation practice that can help with pain. Because our brain gets better and better at feeling pain, our pain often feels worse even when the condition that is causing the pain is not. The goal of this meditation is to  get the brain to focus on something else, to make the brain plastic. This can change our pain level from debilitating to tolerable.