Yoga for Pain Care brings health professionals and yoga teachers together to help people with persistent pain live healthy, meaningful lives, through yoga.
How we do it
Chronic pain affects 1 in 5 people, including children and adolescents, and 1 in 3 over 65. While treated as a medical condition, pain has a huge social impact: it stops people working, many become socially isolated, and leads to anxiety and depression.
We believe yoga can offer an alternative, or compliment, to traditional pain care, that also helps people reconnect with community.
Yoga for Pain Care Australia trains and supports health professionals and yoga teachers to consider the individual and social consequences of pain in order to make pain-sensitive yoga accessible to communities all around Australia. We provide:
- Practical evidence-based education in yoga as a safe, effective part of pain care
- Australia-wide community of Yoga for Pain Practitioners offering a range of individual and group services
- Frameworks for methodically and precisely supporting people through the four stages of pain healing
Our “profit-for-purpose” model means any profits, and all the work we do, is channeled into programs that benefit people with pain.
Research shows yoga and relaxation can improve health outcomes for a range of pain conditions, but there is a big gap between research, and what happens in practice. We believe our work is helping to bridge that gap, so people have more choice in the care they receive to reduce or manage their symptoms, and more opportunity to get back to work, participate in their community, and live healthy, meaningful lives.
Specially taught yoga provides a local, affordable alternative to pain clinics and hospitals. When taught appropriately, yoga can reduce symptoms of pain, build confidence and provide physical activity, meditation and self-care.
Group yoga programs can help those who have become socially isolated due to pain to rebuild connection with their community, and contribute by supporting others going through the same thing.
Ultimately we intend that this helps people who have experienced long term pain to do more than simply manage their pain. We want them to live healthy, meaningful lives and access the benefits of true yoga.
Progress so far
In 2015-16 Yoga for Pain Care Australia trained over 80 health professionals and yoga teachers in NSW, Victoria, WA, ACT and Queensland. Together they cover more than a dozen cities and towns around Australia, and a diverse range of services at a range of price points.
To help build capacity in regional areas we offer a highly subsidised rate and additional mentoring for a country yoga teacher at each training in Australia. Three teachers have so far received this special opportunity. One resulting impact is that Bunbury, a town in WA’s southwest, now has two yoga classes dedicated to people with Multiple Sclerosis.
- Choice – everyone is able to, and has the right to, practice yoga, should they choose. Yoga is not a medical treatment and it’s not something you can “do” to someone.
- Health is a means to an end, not the ends. Specially taught yoga can help people with pain to heal trauma, move better, calm the nervous system and steady the mind. But this is only the beginning.
- Continuous learning – Yoga is a rich, lineage practice with many forms. Teaching yoga always honours this history and unfolding.
- Inquiry – Research can help validate yoga as a safe, effective practice but should never be used as the only means of determining its effect.
- Precision For many who try yoga, even a beginners class is too much. Pain flares are common, not to mention the frustration of not being able to do what you feel you should be able to. By teaching in the right way, people with pain have a good introduction to yoga so they can continue safely, for long enough to experience the benefits of a full yoga practice. Most begin with hopes of symptom relief. They then find the practice brings much more.