My name is Janine Hayward, a healer at the Health Hub, Spiral Aloe Spa. Having travelled a long road with pain, I would like to share some valuable tips on holistic pain management.
Take heart pain is a brilliant teacher, yet I’ve learnt that one can just as quickly learn through pleasure. Yoga is a beautiful way of keeping our bodies limber, our minds focused, and our emotions calm. While we are on the mat, the outer world fades away, and we become present to our bodies, our thoughts and our inner world of emotions, which are naturally stabilised by the practice itself.
Sometimes though, while we may feel calm during class, the demands of modern life create so much stress that the rest of the day may be a bit challenging. If you are physically injured, the problem is only exacerbated when you cannot do your usual workout in your regular route due to pain.
Being slowed down by injury, illness, or pain can be a wonderful gift.
This is because it brings us back to a state of being, rather than doing…and we are human beings after all. The task then becomes to be even more gentle, respectful, present and caring towards ourselves and our precious bodies. Our bodies hold great wisdom and when we listen to them, they speak to us through our emotions, thoughts and physical sensations. Pain is a gentle, or not so gentle reminder from our body that changes and adaptions that need to be made in our lives in one way or another. We all know this.
The challenge is, making changes and facing emotions can be scary
Many of us have the belief that ‘it is not safe to feel’. So emotions get suppressed. This keeps us from intimacy. Alternatively we explode, which also does damage. And we prove to ourselves yet again that feeling is a bad idea. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending how you see it, ‘the feelings are the facts’ and until we clear them and the faulty belief systems that caused them, the messages of emotional, mental and physical pain will remain on one level or another. We may need to change a lot, in order to heal.
People often think that healing occurs when the symptoms have gone. If this were true, then pain killers would be the total solution. In my experience, the ‘illness is the healing’. So many times I have seen how pain becomes the motivator to help people align with their real Selves and being to thrive. Pain is hard to live with, so how do we manage pain holistically in our yoga practice? Pain is our body calling for our attention. Are we willing to listen and make necessary changes or do we push though, ignoring the practice of Ahimsa? Ahimsa is a yogic concept of non-violence which applies to us too!
Pain is a complex issue and affects us on all levels of our being
Yet ‘what we can feel, we can heal’. In Yoga we recognise the physical, vital, emotional, mental, wisdom and bliss bodies, the sheaths that comprise our Being. When we unify all levels we bring ourselves back to a state of wholeness. Our:
Physical body: our most dense layer, our temple and vehicle for this lifetime.
Vital body: electro –magnetic life forces, energy, meridians, our emotions
Mental body: the mind, instincts, motivation, consciousness, memory, our ability to create mental pictures, conscious sensations, our individual subconscious and our thoughts
Wisdom body: This is our sense of individuality, our reason and conscience
Bliss body. The Self, with a capital S, pure consciousness, spiritual awareness, the architect and over-lighting Witness outside time or space, beyond pleasure or pain.
These sheaths or bodies can be imagined like Russian dolls, each within the other.
Let’s explore how we can holistically manage pain in our yoga practice through our various bodies.
The physical body is nourished by the food we eat and is maintained in Yoga through asana (postures). These exercises can be static or flowing and create strength, suppleness and stamina. If you are experiencing pain, it is necessary to inform your teacher so that adaptions can be made. Firstly, physically, the basics of slowing down, really feeling your body, self-regulating, adjusting postures, avoiding things you simply cannot do, avoiding temptations to ‘push yourself’ and instead pacing yourself kindly is vital. Work mindfully and allow your breath to carry your movements.
Sometimes complete rest is required, and while it may be tempting to carry on as normal, perhaps our pain is slowing us own for our protection. Avoid repeating the same mistakes that caused the pain in the first place. It may sound obvious, but easier said than done and ever so frustrating! Emotions can become so dense that they create pain, tension and tightness in our body. Notice what thoughts and feelings come up, when you cannot do your usual routine because of pain.
Emotions and negative self-talk are your body and mind showing you where healing needs to take place
Some pain is a result of an inability to digest. ‘We are told to chew our liquids and drink our solids.’ Digestion begins in the mouth, and if we fail to chew our food adequately, it can result in toxins or in the body which create all sorts of dis-ease. So bless your food, aim for organic and chew well. Many allergies and digestion issues begin due to unprocessed traumatic events. When we literally cannot stomach something that happened in the past, it affects our present, right to the physical level. Adjustments in diet, for your body type may be necessary. Listening to your body is essential.
Trauma Release Exercises reset your bodies’ chemical balance, clearing adrenalin from your system
Matrix Reimprinting helps remove emotional triggers, allergies and phobias that result from trauma.
Some people over eat for comfort, others avoid eating as a way to avoid feeling. Using addictive stimulants like caffeine or sugar can affect your yoga practice leaving your thoughts to run riot. Learning to manage cravings with modalities like ‘EFT’ and Matrix Re-imprinting can help.
Spices can help balance our eating patterns by aiding our digestion. These stimulate our sense of smell and taste. This can get our digestive juices flowing again and enhances the flavour of meals.
Ayurveda is an ancient science that teaches you how to eat according to your body type
Oils are available at the health shop below the Yoga Studio. Or you can get them online here.
A gentle self-massage can help your body feel loved and nurtured. Trace the meridians down the inner arms and up the outer arms. For the legs trace down the out sides of the legs, down the backs of the legs, down the thighs towards the toes and up the inner aspect of the legs towards the groin. Massage the belly in a clockwise direction to aid the digestive and elimination processes.
If you feel like receiving a massage instead come see ….
If you are in need of integrative medical advice to assist your pain management Dr….
Personally I use Mag Phos tissue salt no 8 for general pain relief, the Doctor can prescribe for you.
On a vital level, we can direct our prana to any area that’s in need of healing. Scan your body, feel the vital flow of energy pulsing within you, notice any places where this energy feels stagnant and during your bumblebee breath send the sound current to those places to initiate flow and release.
Emotions result from disturbance in the vital body. Our emotions are supposed to be energy in motion. Due to excess stress, this energy can become stagnant, excessive or blocked. This prevents the free flow or our energy. Children can effortlessly let go of their emotions. One minute they are crying, the next they are happy. They don’t hold onto stuff, like adults do.
As adults, our emotions become ingrained the more we experience them and our bodies can literally become addicted to certain emotional sates
Then we can’t relax, sleep problems creep in and stress abounds. One way to work with painful emotions is to simply stay with them, to witness them as a detached observer, allow them to flow through the body without stopping them in any way. By dropping deeply enough into an emotion it can begin to be digested as you breathe deeply and allow. Sometimes though sitting with our heavy emotions is the last thing we feel like doing, in that case there are other ways.
If you would prefer to just receive for a while and let the world go, without any hard work, then Access Bars can help you feel better, if you don’t want to face your emotions or chat about them. I also do private Sound Therapy Sessions including monochord music and heart light meditations
Our beliefs affect our thinking; which disturbs the flow of energy in our vital body; resulting in painful emotions; which become habitual and ultimately result in physical pain or injury. Matrix Reimpriniting clears the beliefs from which negative thoughts & stuck emotions originate.
Emotional Freedom Technique can help you safely and effectively process your feelings and let go. Scientific studies show that EFT tapping can reduce pain by an average of 60 % in just 20 minutes. I offer all these wonderful healing modalities at the Spiral Aloe Spa at the Health Hub.
Witnessing your thoughts, can help you to uncover the root beliefs that affect your body/mind. Notice your thoughts during your practice, without any self-judgement or censoring. When you begin to see the pattern of your thoughts, you will become aware of what needs changing. Emotional Freedom Technique and Matrix Reimpriniting are great ways to clear negative thought forms and limiting beliefs. Notice what your pain is teaching you. Perhaps you are learning to slow down and be. Your pain may be a blessing in disguise. What is the hidden gift? What else is possible?
If you are in any way physically incapacitated, working with mantra can be an effective way of maintaining your yoga practice as well as your breathing capacity. Mantra and sacred sounds raise your vibration, clear your mental body and enhance your intuition and sensing capacity. Mantra focus the mind, so that you can let go of the endless stream of thoughts and rest within the sound stream. Gazing at a candle can help calm a busy mind and develop ones capacity to concentrate. Please though, remember to use a natural flame of either ghee, natural oil or bees wax.
I host Sacred Sound Journeys on the full moon with monochord music, mantra and meditation. We tune into the cosmic flow and explore ways to use sacred sound for healing and pleasure. Monochord, Ukulele Songs and Meditation CDs will also soon be available for purchase.
The practice of withdrawing your senses during savasana is extremely useful way to access this body. While resting on your back notice your physical body, the energy within you, your emotions, thoughts, just witnessing them and allowing them to be. You progressively let go of all the senses.
In this state of being, one becomes connected again to the All That Is. When you are here, choose a positive state like love, peace or joy and focus on that. This is then the vibration you send into the world. So even if you are bed ridden. Your light counts. Shine your heart light to the world and be.
Reading sacred scriptures, and aligning with gratitude and appreciation is a good way to stay centred in your heart. Any time you are working with your imagination, inspiration and intuition you are accessing your capacity for wisdom and aligning with your higher nature and your true self. Prayer, devotional singing, creativity and meditation all bring us closer to the Divine. Deepening your meditation practice will enhance your intuition and help you maintain a sense of inner peace.
Kundalini yoga is a great way to access your bliss body, which is beyond any kind of pain. Sacred sound currents of kundalini mantra raise your vibration and allow you to align with Source. Ryan teaches awesome kundalini yoga and meditation classes at the life retreat yoga studio.
Speaking of bliss… Have you walked around the garden at Lournesford estate? It is sheer heaven. According to the South African Flower Essences written by Janet Unite these flowers all deal with pain in their own lovely gentle way…perhaps it’s time to make friends with them?
Wising you buchu, coral tree, dog rose, English hawthorn, flowering quince, fuchsia, fumaria, grassy bell, holly, mountain rose, nicotiana, peach, pelargonium, wild dagga, wild gardenia, love! Maybe go for a walk and follow your bliss!
Shanto shanti shanti
‘Emotional Recovery Expert’
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