Pain is an awakening. It takes strength, patience and reformation, starting in the mind to translate change in the body. Physical pain that deforms the body has other repercussions that are difficult to alter and thus, a change in thinking is the avenue to evolve with a new path and dimension to pursue.
“Chronic pain triggers changes in brain structure that are linked to depression, anxiety and impaired cognitive function. New research reveals that practicing yoga has the opposite effect on the brain and can relieve chronic pain. Pain registers physically, emotionally and mentally. We can struggle with pain or we can move to a deeper level of healing by listening to the messages that it brings,” (themindsjournal.com/physical-pains-metaphysical-meanings, Sept. 7, 2020).
How can yoga relieve chronic pain? In a recent lecture, “Effect of Environment on the Long-Term Consequences of Chronic Pain” presented at the American Pain Society’s annual meeting in 2015, by M. Catherine Bushnell, Ph.D., scientific director of the National Center for Complementary Medicine, summed up her research indicating that yoga can counteract chronic pain.
The researchers used “diffusion tensor brain imaging” to analyze gray brain matter volume and hypothesized that increased size and connectivity of the insular cortex affects individual pain tolerance and its threshold. Thus, when the brain anatomy changes, there may be significant chronic pain. Researchers found that increased levels of stress and pain can be altered when there is a physically enriched environment, such as when practicing yoga. This positive influence affects “gray brain” matter.
Thus, how does practicing yoga reduce stress and keep the “gray brain matter” intact? Positive human contact is a strong factor. In the past, before technology, yoga was always taught by a yoga practitioner “in person” to enhance understanding and knowledge.
During these troubled times, yoga taught through technology stimulates beneficial learning as a temporary substitute; however, when the opportunity returns to participate in a human-being learning session, there is no substitute for joy, laughter and personal feedback that enhances individual goals. A yoga practice opens the mind to a refreshed awareness of body language and posture movement in silence with concentration and positive energy that assists in moving forward with an enhanced understanding as encouraged by others in the class who share the same unique learning experience for expanded growth.
As we review the precise yoga posture of Denise Ravine, she demonstrates her physical learning and increased concentration in order to perform and hold this difficult posture. Observe in the photo, her level of concentration on form and her focus on strength to hold the pose. It is her mind that is creating the pose in her body and her intense focus to demonstrate it with alignment.
Yoga provides mental, physical, spiritual and emotional rewards when each person determines how to achieve the greatest well-being within themselves that translates into everyday life activity.
Yoga does not numb the body with painkillers. Yoga assists the “self” to reconnecting with a positive life-force energy. This is not an easy task, but it emphasizes a proactive approach to initiate self-healing once the mind is strongly focused on invalidating “fear.” Disharmony is in contrast to healing; thus, the mind can be re-guided to let go these betrayals and initiate personal goals of health and well-being, despite physical pain and malformations absorbed into the body from worldly experiences.
The philosophy of a pro-active yoga practice, provides an option to heal and grow in health, breaking through the reinforcement of negative consequences from unforeseen circumstances that can alter brain matter and its consequences. We are in charge of our thinking, thus, yoga as a proactive choice, is the first step on a healing path, despite circumstances.
In all of life, choose happiness, no matter what life presents!