Living with chronic pain, can be a cause of constant discomfort, with an
attack on your reserves of strength, energy, and feelings of well-being. Using
Yoga techniques for pain management can help minimize medication usage and help
you lead a happier and fuller life. The best techniques for pain management are
Yoga breathing, relaxation, and
meditation. These three aspects of Yoga
act to distract your mind from pain, reduce your body’s tension in reaction to
pain, and provide an opportunity to "move through" the pain instead of resisting
it so it loses its full impact.
Yoga is believed to reduce pain by helping the brain's pain center regulate
the gate-controlling mechanism located in the spinal cord and the secretion of
natural painkillers in the body. Breathing exercises used in yoga can also
reduce pain. Because muscles tend to relax when you exhale, lengthening the time
of exhalation can help produce relaxation and reduce tension. Awareness of
breathing helps to achieve calmer, slower respiration and aid in relaxation and
pain management. The act of controlling the breath in yoga also helps reduce
pain. The body has a natural phenomenon built in to the nervous system, which
keeps tension in the muscles "on stand by" when the lungs are full, or
Lengthening the time of exhalation can help produce
relaxation and reduce tension in the body.
Relaxation training is a step - by - step process of relaxing each of your body’s
muscles; this helps to counteract the body’s natural tendency to increase muscle
tension in an unconscious effort to "push" the pain away – which only causes the
pain to increase. Mental relaxation is more effective in the relief of chronic
pain, when combined with meditation and rhythmic breathing.
Meditation training is a conscious effort to reduce your mind’s constant
chatter and to concentrate instead simply on the feeling of not thinking.
Regular daily practice of meditation builds a foundation of internal strength by
opening a door to a part of yourself that is not governed by the demands of your
physical body. Start with five minutes. Build up the time slowly until you can
do 20 minutes. You might want to try two 20 minute sessions eventually, one in
the morning and the other at night. If you can only do five minutes, don't
worry. We all have our comfort levels.
Yoga's inclusion of relaxation techniques and meditation can help reduce
pain. Part of the effectiveness of yoga in reducing pain is due to its focus on
self-awareness. This self-awareness can have a protective effect and allow for
early preventive action.