Yoga and Chronic Pain
Millions of people live with chronic pain. Arthritis and back pain are probably the two most common forms, but others include everything from fibromyalgia to cancer. As yoga therapy grows in visibility, many of these people are likely to come looking for relief—and fortunately, yoga has much to offer.
Stress can exacerbate pain, whatever its cause. When you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, your pain tolerance may be lower. And, of course, a vicious cycle often ensues, since being in pain can be stressful. The best way to unlearn chronic stress and pain responses is to give the mind and body new, healthier responses to practice.
Yoga, as perhaps the best overall system of stress reduction ever invented, can help interrupt this cycle.
Yoga is a comprehensive mind-body system that provides tools to address every aspect of the pain response. There are yoga practices for relaxation, reducing stress, dealing with difficult emotions, examining your thoughts and beliefs about pain, and training the mind to be less reactive to painful sensations.
Yoga will teach you how to use your mind as a resource for healing, instead of feeling at the mercy of an unpredictable body. Yoga will also give you a clear way to take care of your body, and teach you how to take charge of your experience even when you are in pain.
By helping you transform chronic pain and stress responses and into “chronic” healing responses of mind and body, yoga will do more than reduce your suffering of chronic pain. It will give you greater strength, courage, and joy in all areas of your life.
Malathy hails from India, the land where yoga originated. She came to the United States in 1993 to do her Master’s program in Economics. She has worked in the IT area for several years. As part of her Indian classical dance curriculum, she was introduced to yoga at an early age. She has been practicing yoga with several reputed teachers in the Chicago and Dallas areas, with a focus on yoga for pain relief. Malathy herself is no stranger to pain – stress, bad posture, and long hours at the computer had taken their toll on her neck and back. With the help of yoga and body work at the Muscle Therapy Clinic, she has been able to drastically improve the quality of her life, and wishes to pass on this knowledge to others with chronic pain. She has learnt the Vipassana technique of meditation and practices it regularly to relieve stress.
Malathy lives in Plano with her husband and beloved labradoodle Chutney. She is pursuing a Master Gardener’s certification from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Her other interests include travel, reading, volunteering, organic vegetable gardening, cooking, and taking long, leisurely walks with her family.