Yoga for Chronic Pain
10 yoga poses to help heal your body and release your pain
By Liz Owen
Anyone who has lived with chronic pain knows how physically, mentally and emotionally debilitating it can be. We can become unable to understand how one part of our body could "do this to us." We can feel frustrated, angry, and ultimately hopeless.
Yoga includes a range of practices that can help. Rather than seeing the body as a number of different parts, with some that are comfortable and strong while others are weak and painful, yoga considers the body to be an organic, connected entity whose parts are constantly in moving relationship to each other. Yoga teaches awareness of proper body alignment and posture, an important aspect of a well-functioning body. At the same time, the mindfulness training of yoga provides tools for engaging with our pain in a way in which we can listen to it, come to understand it, and abide it while healing is in process. Stress reduction, a well-known benefit of yoga, can further facilitate the release of negative and damaging emotions to help you move towards healing.
This sequence of yoga asanas (poses) is designed to both stretch and strengthen your body. While you practice the sequence, remember that you are not responsible for your pain, but you must be responsible to it. Decide which poses help you to feel better. Offer mental comfort to your painful areas and listen closely to them: You may be surprised by a sense of delight and accomplishment as you help your body become more vital, healthy, and happy.
Liz Owen is a certified Iyengar yoga instructor and has taught yoga for over 17 years. Liz teaches in the Boston area and throughout New England. LizOwenYoga.com.