Easy Flows for Pain Relief
To keep my joints moving with ease and pain free, I love practicing and teaching flows. A yoga flow (often called vinyasa) is a practice that you do in sync with your breath. "Vinyasa" in Sanskrit means "to place in a special way", and can refer to all kinds of sequences, including strings of musical notes. In relation to yoga practice it refers to linking asanas (yoga poses) together. While there are many vinyasa styles of yoga that are quite athletic and physically demanding, a yoga therapy approach offers a pace of movement that is steady but accessible, and can be fully adapted to the individual.
When we coordinate our movement with breath, several things happen:
Attention required for this coordination helps our mind become one-pointed and focus on the practice.
Slow and steady rhythm of the breath helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This has many benefits, including reduced blood pressure and reduced stress.
Slow and rhythmic breathing induces a state of calm and relaxation in the brain and the nervous system. If you are suffering from chronic or persistent pain, this is important. Working with steady and calm breath will make the brain associate activity you are engaged in with a state of relaxation, which in turn will help decrease pain.
Stress and a sense of perceived danger, which often go hand-in-hand with rapid breathing, increase pain. But the practice of maintaining a state of calm through practicing calm breath along with accessible movement, will begin to retrain your nervous system towards safety.
When you are focused on your breath and on a sense of safety in the body, you will be more likely to find accessible movements that might have caused pain if done without breath awareness. While practicing gentle, therapeutic yoga vinyasas, syncing your breath with movement, and cultivating a sense of safety, you are practicing to move without pain, are increasing your range of motion, overall mobility and function, and creating new neural connections that will help your brain perceive these movements as safe, and help you become pain-free.