Restorative Yoga as an Alternative for Pain Management
In the U.S., we are often familiar with yoga for stretching, strength building and balance. All yoga has good qualities, but why consider restorative yoga? Because many of us are exhausted. Our battles and challenges have left us weary. And it often takes time, training, and a commitment to do things differently in order learn a new way to take care of ourselves.
Restorative Yoga is the use of props to support the body in positions of ease and comfort to facilitate health and relaxation. ~ Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT
For many of us we have a pattern of anxiety when presented with the unknown. We have confused exhaustion and mindless activities with relaxation. It can be difficult to rest. Yet stillness can begin a process of pointing you to the beauty of your true self. If you get uncomfortable with quiet, remember it is ok to be uncomfortable with new things. For me, I have the same process each time I want to start over. I slowly build back up my practice, to see success and create positive momentum. Start with one minute a day, then two minutes, five minutes, until you can sit in peace for fifteen minutes.
Simple poses like legs up the wall, supported child’s pose and relaxation (savasana) poses can have a powerful effect overtime to bring calm and focus to the body and mind. Find a reference to the above poses online or in a good yoga guide. They aren’t complicated to learn. And don’t be surprised if at first your mind resists the opportunity to be present. We can build behaviors that allow us to experience our body, heart and mind. Remember to always talk with your healthcare provider before starting a new fitness activity or program.
What I have learned from yoga:
- It is important to create space in your life (reduce commitments)
- We can choose what we do with each 24-hour day
- There are healthy activities that reduce stress on your body
- It isn’t about denying your pain, it’s about caring for yourself through your healing
- And everyone wants to be “seen” (be that person for yourself)
Everyone’s path may be different. We each have inner struggles. The various styles of yoga are diverse. The practice of yoga can get us out of our comfort zones and expand our capacity for connection to ourselves and others. Time on the mat offers a chance to question our own assumptions. And when we learn about ourselves and others, how we respond as life unfolds can evolve. And isn’t it an incredible moment as we begin again and see a light shine into our struggles, and give us hope for a new start?
May you find the “practice” that brings you peace, contentment, and clarity for your “next best” step to move forward.
Sandra Henig, Yoga Instructor