I am concerned for the people who see posts like the one above and think, “Oh, great! I’ll practice these at home to help relieve my back pain.”
I think, “Oh, no!”
Why is that?
We all have different ways that we hold tension in our bodies that may lead to pain.
Therefore, our range of motion is different from what is pictured here, the person on the yoga mat beside us, or the yoga teacher who is demonstrating for us during class. We have to honour what our body is telling us is our tension and pain free range of motion and let go of our comparisons to others if we want to feel better.
This can be very challenging.
We might want our practice to look like that of the person next to us, but the thing is, we don’t know how they’re feeling in their body as they practice. They may be feeling absolutely great or they may be experiencing a lot of discomfort to make themselves look like they do in that particular pose.
Many of my clients, and you might experience the same, would not be able to do the poses that are shown above without increasing their pain.
When working with those who are in pain applying SomaYoga techniques, the movement is dialled right back to a place where they are as comfortable as they can possibly be.
This might mean their movements are very small to begin with. Practicing in this way offers the person the ability to bring awareness to truly experiencing what tension and pain free movement feels like.
By honouring where their body is as they move through their practice at that time, they will begin to manage, reduce or resolve their pain.
The mantras here are no pain all gain, slow is fast, less is more and simple to complex.
Look at Child’s Pose shown above. This is an interesting “restorative” pose.
It looks easy, right?
What I have noticed is that a lot of tension may be held in many different areas of a person’s body when in Child’s Pose. It does not look or feel restorative.
There is no feeling of a blissful “ahhhhh”.
While I was exploring this pose with fellow yoga therapists who were not in back pain I became curious about the muscles that needed to release tension to help people feel more at ease and open to receive the full benefits of this restorative pose.
We explored the pose at the beginning of the class to establish how it felt in their bodies. Then after applying the techniques of SomaYoga, the participants practiced Child’s Pose again. What they discovered was that there was more ease in their final Child’s Pose.
This finally allowed them to be saturated in their ease and lack of tension.
When we are in pain, we can’t dive right into these complex poses shown above and have our bodies feel better. We may have developed ways of moving that helped us to get through a time in our life when, for example, we may have had an injury or developed extreme tension from a repetitive movement such as slinging a heavy backpack over one shoulder or working at the computer for long hours.
This compensatory movement pattern can cause chronic pain issues. We aren’t aware of these compensatory patterns of movement and the consequences until we experience the pain, and even then, we don’t know where it came from.
As a Certified Yoga Therapist I am able to help you get to the root of the problem.