Yoga for Pain
Is Yoga really a cure for pain? What kind of Yoga teacher should you visit for pain management? What style of Yoga would be best, if you are constantly feeling pain? In which cases would Yoga not be advisable for students in severe pain? Let’s look at some pain management solutions that Yoga has to offer.
Is Yoga really a cure for pain? Many Yoga students swear by the results they have received from regularly attending Yoga classes, two or three times per week. In truth, Yoga has its limits – just like any diet. Can you imagine if you were going to diet wisely once a week? You can imagine the results.
Therefore, the real dilemma, with Yoga practice, is getting a student to practice on a regular basis. Also, Yoga, much like any prescription drug, cannot promise to be a “cure-all” for every ailment. Yoga can promise to be a diversion from pain and help students to manage it better, with no adverse side effects.
The lifestyle changes that occur after regularly practicing Yoga, will cause Yoga students to evaluate everything they do, and everything they eat. Yoga is not just another exercise program or some fad that just came along within the least decade. According to some archaeological findings, Yoga has been in existence for over 5000 years. Show me an exercise fad with those credentials!
What kind of Yoga teacher should you visit for pain management? The Yoga teacher you select, for pain management, should be knowledgeable in the use of props. The prospective Yoga teacher should understand that each posture can be modified for the needs of the specific student. In other words, if you detect a “it’s my way or the highway” attitude, get as far away from that Yoga teacher as you can.
The most important component in a Yoga teacher’s personality, who helps students with ailments, is compassion. If you don’t see, feel, or hear any compassion, this is the wrong match for your needs. Yoga can be customized for the specific needs of students. The Yoga teacher, who has not yet felt any pain, is going to have less empathy for students who are in pain. So, an “elite” Yoga teacher, who can perform every asana imaginable, and has the body of a competing Olympic gymnast, may not exactly understand your pain.
What style of Yoga would be best, if you are constantly feeling pain? There are a number of styles to consider that can be easily customized for your specific needs. Here are a few to consider: Restorative Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Yoga Therapy, and Tri-Yoga. Please keep in mind that these styles will vary according to the Yoga teacher’s interpretation of the style’s principles.
In which cases would Yoga not be advisable for students in severe pain? Sometimes, physicians do not recommend Yoga in cases of severe pain, such as in the case of extremely severe arthritis. The reasoning is that any movement will cause a great deal of pain in the joints. If your physician tells you not to practice a gentle form of Yoga, you should at least ask why. If you are not satisfied with the answer, you should seek a second opinion.
If you are feeling pain, and want to take positive action, you should consult your physician, and if agreed by your physician, explore your options with a local Yoga teacher, who teaches a gentle style and has a history of helping Yoga students with ailments.
© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts, with multiple Black Belts, four martial arts teaching credentials, and was recently inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors in the greater Providence area. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html