Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and Mindfulness for Persistent (Chronic) Pain

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    No matter the cause of persistent (chronic) pain, research has shown that yoga can help reduce inflammation, counteract stress, calm the nervous system, improve mobility, and enhance quality of life. Many of my clients have have undergone numerous investigations that do not explain the severity or nature of their pain. They may have received various treatments such as medications, injections, physiotherapy, or even surgery, and their pain persists or recurs in a different place. Severe stress, depression and anxiety often accompany persistent pain. Over time, our brain can get very efficient at learning how to produce pain. without us even being aware. Persistent pain that is driven by the nervous system is very difficult to treat with conventional medical treatment. I know this from my own personal experience with persistent foot pain.

    Persistent pain is as real as any other pain that is caused by an injury or tissue damage. Yoga is a healing practice that can shift one's perception and experience with pain, and your relationship with it.  Yoga is a mind-body practice that facilitates a sense of comfort and control over your mind and body when pain is present.

    Trauma-sensitive yoga and mindfulness are complementary approaches that can work alongside conventional treatments. My practice specializes in adapting the practice for different needs and abilities.

    A trauma-sensitive approach honours where you are at any given day, wherever you are on your pain journey. At all times, you are in charge of what you do and how you do it.

    Some ways that yoga and mindfulness can help diminish persistent pain:

    • Overcome fear of movement by exploring movement that doesn't hurt and discover ways in which your body is strong and stable. 
    • Reconnect with parts of your body that you might have negative feelings about or feel cut off from.
    • Quiet your mind so that it can better listen to your body's communication and wisdom.
    • Calm your brain to create a sense of safety in the nervous system, which supports rest, recovery, and healing.
    • Becoming aware of and present with painful sensations in a gentle, curious way, at your pace, actually decreases their intensity.
    • Mindfulness and self-compassion allows you to notice thoughts and emotions you have in response to physical sensations that can fuel pain.
    • Mindfully directing your focus of attention can serve to overcome unhelpful patterns of responding to pain. 

    If you have persistent pain, you know that it changes everything. Before I experienced persistent pain myself, I didn’t fully understand the frustration, fear, feelings of powerlessness and grief it elicits. Since recovering in 2021, my mission is to bring hope to others who are suffering, with simple mind-body practices they can incorporate into their daily life. Pain is changeable AND you can live well with pain!

    Please see my articles: 

    Restoring the Mind-Body Connection to Relieve Persistent Pain

    How a Trauma-Sensitive Approach Can Help People with Pelvic Pain (relevant to other types of persistent pain)

    What can happen when a nervous system gets too sensitive? 

    My YouTube playlist: Resources for Persistent Pain

    Contact me for a no-charge 15-minute consultation to discuss how yoga might help you with your pain!

     

     

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    Spiritual Lineage Acknowledgement

    Yoga's historical roots originated in India more than 5000 years ago.  I am evermore grateful to my teachers and for the ancient wisdom that informs my yoga practice and teaching. I strive to practice and uphold the ethics of yoga to create a more peaceful, just world. I commit to engaging in continuing education and self-reflection to avoid cultural appropriation.

    Land Acknowledgement

    I offer respect and gratitude to the First Peoples and caretakers of the land I call home: the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat nations.