I am writing this shorter post as a call to action! Something you don’t known about me yet is that I live with chronic pain. I have had chronic headaches since I was in high school and I have pain from a severe shoulder injury caused by a car crash in 2014. (Both of which I will go into more detail about in a later post called, Chronic Pain and How it Affects Mental Health.) For many years, I have been dealing with this constant pain in silence. I don’t speak about it often with others outside of my inner circle of friends and families, unless I absolutely have to. I have tried countless techniques and methods to ease the pain, but for the most part, there hasn’t been much I have been able to do about it. I have been semi dabbling into yoga the last couple of years, but because of these pains (and the fact I am the least flexible person in the world,) I end up not sticking with it long enough to feel it’s healing effects. But I want to actually start and keep with it; especially after reading the article How Does Yoga Relieve Chronic Pain? from Psychology Today.
The article states, “Chronic pain triggers changes in brain structure that are linked to depression, anxiety, and impaired cognitive function. New research shows that practicing yoga has the opposite effect on the brain and can relieve chronic pain.”
Dr. Caroline Bushell, scientific director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, says that during their extensive research on non-pharmaceutical treatments for chronic pain, doing some sort of “mind-body” practice like yoga can be found to help by reducing our brain’s pain perception. Science once thought that chronic pain was only activated due to damage to our physical self. But it’s becoming more known that there is also connection to the mind-body relationship.
According to Kelly McGonigal, yoga therapist and psychologist, there is a second source of chronic pain; “the very real biology of your thoughts, emotions, expectations, and memories,” also affect how you handle the pain. Therefore, yoga can be a fabulous way to re-teach your mind and body how to handle it. McGonigal also states, “Relaxation specifically has been shown to be healing for chronic pain. It turns off the stress response and directs the body’s energy to growth, repair, immune function, digestion, and other self-nurturing processes.”
SO! I am challenging myself to do 30 days of yoga and I want to challenge you to try it as well!! I am using videos on Youtube from Yoga With Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge. For the next 30 days, I am going to do yoga and see how much better my pains become!
I know this is going to be pretty difficult for me, but I want to push myself to better my body! At this point in my life, I am willing to try anything that might help alleviate my pain; as well as work on being more in tune with my body and spirit. I hope that even if you don’t join me in this challenge, you find ways to connect with your body, helping you feel, strong, healthy and FIERCE!