Yoga for Pain
Has Your Understanding of Yoga Lost Its Flexibility?
In my new book, Yoga Therapy as a Creative Response to Pain, I titled the first chapter, “Yoga Isn’t What You Think It Is,” which sets the tone for the entire book. All of my life I’ve been reserved and overly polite. Something shifted though during 2016 as I watched society lurch madly in a direction I could only describe as a “bad movie” script.
Did you feel it as well?
I believe the combination of stepping into my new career chapter as a writer and full-time teacher coupled with a sense of urgency over the type of world I am leaving for my three grown children ignited a change in me. No more time for dancing around the awkward issues or hoping not to offend someone (always an anonymous entity I now realize). So let’s check our flexibility about yoga, shall we, and see if we are supple enough to bend into and make a change in the “B” movie we call “now”?
What is Yoga Pain?
What is Yoga Pain? I’m pretty sure I just made it up. The reason I made up the term was to try to capture a growing problem among not only yoga professionals (teachers and therapists) but also my healthcare professional colleagues. The Yoga Pain seems to be the result of our individual and collective “forgetting” how everything is connected…that Unity thing of yoga. That’s right, we keep forgetting and that generates even more pain rather than solving the pain epidemic and despite all of our good intentions. We just “forget” and slip into our habits of mind of applying parts to complex, relational challenges. That’s the reason why I wrote my new book: Yoga Therapy as a Creative Response to Pain. Not convinced? Consider the following challenges we all face. Let’s begin by defining Yoga Pain like so: Yoga Pain [yoh-guh peyn] noun, The emotions, stress, fear, and burden of teaching yoga to relieve pain. The result of an inappropriately taught yoga session. That bad little feeling that one is actually just a poser when they teach yoga. Bread served at French yoga studios That last one hurt, didn’t it? But it is a definition. My point is to highlight the fluidity of language and the potential for misunderstanding to arise for both simple and complex concepts. Pain, of course, is a complex concept. How Complex is Pain? Well, if you think you understand it, you’re wrong. Yep, wrong. Here’s why: Pain science is changing so fast the experts admit…
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