Managing Chronic Pain With Restorative Yoga

restorative yoga for chronic pain

One of the main principles of yoga, the mantras are repeated frequently to affirm and manifest the vision you’re seeking – and to help you enter a deep state of meditation.

What if you could harness the power of yoga to attain what you deserve most – relief from chronic pain? Many in the medical field are discovering the myriad pain-management benefits associated with the age-old practice of yoga in Vancouver Fitness.

Essentially, we become “hard-wired” to have negative emotions associated with our perception of pain. These changes in brain chemistry also shape how intensely we feel pain.

Mind Over Pain – Does It Work?

We’ve all heard the saying “mind over matter,” but for chronic pain sufferers, this is often easier said than done. However, yoga and meditation both the present novel approach to pain relief, as they mitigate pain perception and offset the decreases in gray matter volume.

Restorative yoga is one form of yoga touted for its numerous benefits – among them, focusing the mind on healing thoughts, sensations, and emotions. The combination of gentle poses with controlled, deep breathing can help rid the body of tension and stress. One aspect of yoga encourages you to direct your breath toward any sensations of discomfort you may feel.

Yoga positions that stretch the spine are wonderful for improving flexibility and relieving back pain. In fact, poses as “cobra” may also help alleviate residual effects of hunched shoulders, such as tension headaches. However, those who have a pinched nerve or disc diseases will need to be careful.

You’ll want to steer clear of strenuous styles of yoga, such as ashtanga or power yoga, that may exacerbate your discomfort. There are many types of yoga you may practice, and all of them can help loosen the joints and reduce stiffness.

Focus on Balance and Strength

The physical postures practiced in yoga help develop and maintain muscular strength, flexibility, and balance. Core strength is essential for a healthy, stable back.

When functioning correctly, core muscles help protect the spine, maintain stability between the block-like bones of the spine, and reduce stress impacting the vertebrae and discs. Greater core strength also helps improve balance.

Research shows that restriction in a certain range of movements and flexibility can lead to the development of back pain. Yoga constantly takes the body through its range of movement and maintains or increases flexibility.

Relaxation and Breathing Exercises

The breathing (pranayama) and meditation and relaxation (dhyana) practiced in yoga are vital components of the practice. Back pain can be debilitating and could have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing and quality of life.

A review of studies on yoga for chronic lower back pain showed yoga may help reduce ruminating on pain, improve the ability to cope with pain, reduce the production of cortisol, and improve quality of life.

Mind and Body Awareness

In yoga, the practice of drawing inward (pratyahara) helps develop greater body awareness. 

The practice involves taking your attention away from distractions such as racing thoughts and placing your attention on the body, its sensations, and the moment-to-moment experience. Concentrating on and being present in the body can be transferred to everyday activities such as sitting and standing with good posture.

Through greater body awareness we become conscious of habitual patterns we may have, such as continually crossing the same leg, pushing the pelvis forward when we are standing, slouching the shoulders when we are seated, or standing with our weight always taken through the same leg. 

We can then start to break these habits and rewrite the patterns of our body with the intention of creating more freedom of movement, stability, better body alignment, and improved posture.

Yoga has worked wonders for chronic pain. This isn’t just a workout hype or a new lifestyle fad to follow. Many chronic pain sufferers can attest to how yoga and meditation in Vancouver Fitness can help redirect stress and pain to another route that can alleviate pain entirely with breathing exercises, restorative stances, visualization, and meditation. 

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