Why Yoga for Pain is not all about being gentle (although that’s part of it)

Pain is a complex, human experience. It can tell us something is dangerous. Because pain is an experience (rather than a thing) we can sometimes find it hard to tell the difference between ‘painful’ or ‘unnecessarily uncomfortable’ (and therefore something to change) and ‘unfamiliar’.

In Yoga for Pain Practitioner Training yoga teachers and health professionals alike are surprised by just how gentle a yoga practice can be, and how satisfying gentle can be.

But we don’t do gentle for the sake of it.

We do gentle to work on specific skills that help someone with pain move forward. One of those skills, is the ability to avoid unnecessary discomfort.

Avoiding unnecessary discomfort sounds obvious. But many people we work with have felt pain for a very long time, sometimes decades. When ‘painful’ has become normal it’s hard to conceive of an alternative.

Eventually, once someone with persistent pain learns to move and to be without unnecessary discomfort, they can start to be comfortable with the kind of discomfort that moves them forward. This might be the gentle discomfort to keep up a daily yoga practice long enough to see benefits, the discomfort of not knowing what to do with their life for long enough to find direction, or the discomfort of hopelessness long enough to see hope was never lost.

Learn more about Yoga for Pain as a field of practice in Practitioner Training, or sign up to the newsletter to make sure you get our updates.

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