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How Does Yoga Help With Pain Relief?

It’s a hec­tic world we live in, and the rushed and fran­tic pace is some­times tough to keep up with. Stum­ble some­where, trip and smack your knee or twist your ankle, and sud­den move­ment gets much harder. Injury and pain make life excep­tion­al­ly more com­pli­cat­ed when try­ing to keep up with the demands of this busy world. And sud­den injuries can come when you least expect them from an unin­ten­tion­al vehi­cle col­li­sion. Of course, a car acci­dent lawyer can pro­vide peace of mind with account­abil­i­ty and help you through the process. But it would help if you had some­thing more to deal with phys­i­cal pain. Even with­out those sud­den injuries that some­times hap­pen, the repet­i­tive move­ments we do every day can be straining—sitting at a com­put­er for hours, bend­ing over to pull a dish from the oven, or crouch­ing down when clean­ing the house. In the midst of any one of those repet­i­tive move­ments or a hun­dred oth­ers like them, even the most minor turn the wrong way can lead to intense pain. Then what? One answer is yoga! Yoga has been around for thou­sands of years. Its roots are in India, but it has been adapt­ed to West­ern lifestyles. In some cas­es, it can pro­vide the per­fect alter­na­tive to tak­ing med­ica­tion when it’s ade­quate­ly prac­tised with a qual­i­fied, knowl­edge­able instructor. Many peo­ple right­ly hes­i­tate to take pain med­ica­tion when injured or when their bod­ies begin to rebel because of all those dai­ly repet­i­tive move­ments. Anti-inflam­ma­tion med­ica­tion can be hard on your stom­ach lin­ing, and tak­ing them for any length of time can lead to chron­ic stom­ach irri­ta­tion. Pain med­ica­tions can bring on a whole array of issues, like fog­gi­ness, slug­gish­ness, and drowsiness.  When you’re try­ing to work or raise your chil­dren or, like so many peo­ple, do both, the last thing you want is to feel sleepy in mid-day because you took a pain pill. Prac­tis­ing yoga can help you avoid that. Yoga has been around for cen­turies. It is an ancient prac­tice that com­bines the mind, body and deep breath­ing tech­niques. Togeth­er, these ele­ments can offer sub­stan­tial pain relief if you begin prac­tis­ing yoga slow­ly and carefully. In this post, we explain how yoga can relieve pain and explain what a typ­i­cal yoga class for begin­ners might look like.

-Stretching Can Lengthen Muscles & Ease Pain

When we are in pain, our bod­ies’ nat­ur­al reac­tion is to con­tract and “pro­tect” the sore area. For exam­ple, let’s say your ham­string hurts from walk­ing too quick­ly or not warm­ing up before you head out—the mus­cle con­tracts and swells. In yoga, you lean into a stretch that slow­ly length­ens the sore mus­cle, there­by grad­u­al­ly reduc­ing pain. (One caveat: all yoga instruc­tors agree that you must recov­er from an acute injury – a twist­ed ankle, for exam­ple – before begin­ning yoga pos­es or return­ing to the practice).

- Even Simple Poses Relax The Body – & That Promotes Pain Relief

Yoga encour­ages the practitioner’s aware­ness of the body and, most cru­cial­ly, their pos­ture. Moun­tain pose, for exam­ple, requires you to sim­ply stand up straight, with your arms at your sides or palms togeth­er in front of your chest. This may seem incred­i­bly easy, but stay­ing in this pose for, let’s say, five or six deep breath­ing cycles helps you “get to know” your stance. Know­ing how your body posi­tions itself when stand­ing still is the begin­ning of the aware­ness you need before mov­ing on to more com­pli­cat­ed poses. Try it – you’ll real­ize that per­haps your pos­ture isn’t as straight and tall as you thought. Go from your head to your toes, tak­ing inven­to­ry of any slouch­ing, and cor­rect it. This is a sim­ple, easy way to intro­duce your­self to the pow­er yoga has for chang­ing the body.

- Studies Show That Yoga Works To Lessen Pain

When we’re in pain, our body sends us stress sig­nals, telling us how to react. Yoga low­ers those sig­nals, and that helps us cope bet­ter. Yoga com­bines phys­i­cal ele­ments like deep breath­ing and stretch­ing with focus and med­i­ta­tion. Those ele­ments allow the body to expe­ri­ence less pain and bet­ter han­dle the pain it does still feel.

- Practising Yoga Improves Mood

If you’re cop­ing with chron­ic pain, chances are it affects your mood. Who doesn’t feel cranky and short-tem­pered when their knee is swollen and sore? Yoga can alle­vi­ate that because reduc­ing inflam­ma­tion and pain helps restore your sense of con­trol. The cycle usu­al­ly goes some­thing like this: some­one is exer­cis­ing, they sus­tain an injury, so they stop work­ing out and begin expe­ri­enc­ing a loss of con­trol over their body. That leads to neg­a­tive emo­tions and a sense of pow­er­less­ness. Mood improves only when that pow­er is restored, and yoga can make that pos­si­ble. As we said, of course, recov­ery from an acute injury is nec­es­sary before you begin prac­tis­ing any form of exer­cise. How­ev­er, yoga can make you stronger and more flex­i­ble once you’re on the mend. Being stronger and flex­i­ble decreas­es the chance of you get­ting injured again.

- Improving Mobility Means a Better Quality Of Life

When move­ment is restrict­ed, chances are life is restrict­ed, too. Achiev­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty and strength through yoga allows you to increase your range of motion, and that in turn allows you greater move­ment in life, so to speak. For exam­ple: let’s say you hurt your back doing some­thing sim­ple, like get­ting out of your vehi­cle. Is there any­thing more painful (and annoy­ing!) than a sore low­er back? Prac­tis­ing yoga, with a qual­i­fied instruc­tor, teach­es ways to strength­en those low­er back mus­cles, so they are not sus­cep­ti­ble to quick and need­less strain. And hav­ing that free­dom, being able to move know­ing that your mus­cles will react cor­rect­ly in just about any moment to any move­ment, is one of the best ben­e­fits of yoga. It increas­es your body’s range of motion and there­by increas­es your move­ment in the world.

- Yoga Can Ease Temporary Or Chronic Pain

How yoga help with pain relief? Whether you’ve hurt your­self once and are recov­er­ing or suf­fer from ongo­ing, chron­ic pain from headaches (for exam­ple), yoga can help. Spe­cif­ic pos­es help with spe­cif­ic regions of pain. There are sequences that tar­get leg strength, for exam­ple. Oth­ers zero in on stretch­ing neck mus­cles, improv­ing blood flow to your head and reduc­ing headaches. Per­form­ing the appro­pri­ate pos­es reg­u­lar­ly – say two or three times per week – helps reduce inflam­ma­tion and ease the pain. Yoga also fos­ters men­tal relax­ation. It encour­ages prac­ti­tion­ers to focus on their bod­ies, par­tic­u­lar­ly cer­tain areas that cause the most dis­com­fort. You can learn a sequence of moves that are meant to strength­en abdom­i­nal mus­cles, which in turn strength­en the low­er back. Vir­tu­al­ly any part of your body can be helped by prac­tis­ing yoga – you just need the dis­ci­pline to do the work every oth­er day and not expect mir­a­cles overnight!

Finding The Right Class & Instructor

Whether you are an absolute novice or you’ve done yoga in the past and now want to under­take it to help you with pain man­age­ment, there is a class and an instruc­tor for you. Now that the pan­dem­ic and its accom­pa­ny­ing restric­tions are eas­ing right across the coun­try, venues are open­ing again. Class­es at gyms, yoga stu­dios and com­mu­ni­ty cen­tres are being offered now or soon will be – per­haps in the fall. Until then, how can you do some intro­duc­to­ry yoga to help you at home?

1- Do Some Research Online

The Inter­net is a ter­rif­ic resource for find­ing instruc­tors in your com­mu­ni­ty. Find out who is offer­ing class­es, and research which lev­el is right for you and the pain issues you’re having. Talk to instruc­tors. Talk to friends who’ve tak­en class­es. And remem­ber – if you take a class that turns out to be too advanced, stop! Every qual­i­fied yoga instruc­tor encour­ages stu­dents to go at their own pace and mod­i­fy pos­es as need­ed. You are your own best pain con­trol board.

2- Talk To Your Doctor Before You Begin

If you’re ner­vous that doing yoga could cause a prob­lem, speak to your physi­cian. They know your body and its lim­i­ta­tions and how yoga is like­ly to impact it. Most physi­cians will say that some exer­cise, even if it makes you a bit sore at first, is far bet­ter than remain­ing idle, which may cause your pain to get worse. Some com­mu­ni­ty fit­ness cen­tres offer aqua yoga, which reduces risk even fur­ther – if you top­ple over, all that hap­pens is your hair may get wet!

Final Thoughts

Prac­tis­ing yoga is an excel­lent way to com­bat and man­age pain, whether it’s chron­ic or occa­sion­al. Yoga makes you strong, flex­i­ble, lithe and relaxed. Its med­i­ta­tive nature is calm­ing and can help low­er blood pressure. It teach­es you how to cope with what­ev­er pain remains pro­duc­tive­ly, an alter­na­tive to med­ica­tion and lim­it­ed mobil­i­ty. And best of all, once you know the pos­es that alle­vi­ate your pain issues, you can prac­tice them at home any time you want. All you need is com­fort­able cloth­ing and a yoga mat, but even a long tow­el will do in a pinch. Try­ing yoga, even for two weeks to get a sense of how it can help, is a won­der­ful way to treat your pain in a holis­tic, nat­ur­al way. And isn’t that what self-care and per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty for our health are all about? *Med­ical Disclaimer SeizeY­ourLife­To­day and the pub­lish­ers of our con­tent do not claim any lia­bil­i­ty for any dam­ages or health com­pli­ca­tions that may emerge from users fol­low­ing the infor­ma­tion giv­en on our site. All users are advised to speak to their physi­cian or licensed health­care provider before start­ing any diet, tak­ing any sup­ple­ment, or fol­low­ing any rec­om­men­da­tion they find on our site.

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