Do you know anyone with fibromyalgia? Or maybe just someone who feels tired a lot, has chronic pain, sleep problems, or gets sick pretty often?
Yoga can help but the cure might not be a pose prescription. Our lives and our bodies tend to be more complex, and often need something more holistic. What helps here – for pain, energy, sleep, and immunity – is less in what poses you do, and more in moving your body. As a general guide: move easy, everything you’ve got, in every direction you can.
Don’t worry about poses, correct ways of doing things, or pushing into anything at all. Just stay relaxed, breathe deep, and follow how you feel.
It’s not the poses that matter, it’s you that matters.
So explore gently around and get to know all of you. When you find a place that feels good to linger, linger and breathe there. When you want to move, move easy.
Take prevention and healing of pain as an example. Chronic pain and tenderness often spring up for people in their hips and shoulders. Poses like hip and shoulder openers can feel quite good while you’re doing them, but over time, pushing further into these poses creates hyper-mobility in most people, which leads to more pain. It’s not another pose that’s likely to help here.
To restore balance in your body, put your focus now on moving rather than posing. This helps your body strengthen its supporting structure, and bring your parts back into the right relationship with one another.
Try moving your body easily all around every pose – over, under, left, right, forward, back, up and down. Let your body relax. Don’t use force to get into anything. Just explore gently in every direction. Rather than bringing stress into your body and mind, this will help send it in the direction you want: right on out of you. Once your mind and body feel safe, your critical systems can switch from defense mode into healing and happy mode.
Your body is an incredible healing machine, and it will often just take care of itself with a little time. If you want to support that healing process, even better. Here are a few steps to follow:
1) Relax. Avoid doing things that make you tense or rigid. Instead, do things that let stress release and leave your body and mind. This begins with deep breaths, that give your body a little lift on each inhale, and soften you on each exhale, making it just a bit easier to be where you are.
It’s worth keeping in mind this doesn’t mean we need to eliminate external stressors from our lives in order to heal and be healthy. This is good, because it’s probably not possible. What it does mean is we can learn to change how our body handles and responds to stress, by changing how we move, eat, and live.
2) Move easy. Keep checking in on how you move. Are you moving easily around where it’s comfortable for you to move, and letting that territory expand on its own time? Or are you moving easy until something gets tough, and then going to war with that barrier?
When things are easy for you, practice moving easy, everything you’ve got, in every direction you can. When things are hard for you, practice moving easy, everything you’ve got, in every direction you can.
Also, bring your whole self into everything you do.
If you bring just a part of you into challenge, you’ll work harder than you need to accomplish less than you can.
If you bring your whole self into a challenge, you’ll find these challenges aren’t so challenging any more.
Practice this when things are easy, and you’ll have it in your life when things get hard.
3) Crazy cat-cow. Begin on your hands and knees and get comfortable, hands wider than your shoulders, knees wider than your hips. That’s just a starting point.
Now let your head hang easy and roll your hips and body around in every explorable direction. To let your body move this way, relax. Rather than holding your arms stiff, let your elbows soften and bend.
Lean your hips over to one side, maybe far to one side as your calves swing around to the other side for balance. As you roll around left and right, ease your hips back toward your heels, then forward toward the ground.
Your hands can move, your knees and feet can move, your ribs might round off to one side or the other, a leg might extend daringly off your mat to one side. Just keep moving from your belly, and let the rest of your body go along for the ride.
To help with all this movement, breathe! Breathe extra deep, and hold a moment at the top of each breath, so you get to feel into everything you’ve got. Then respond to what you feel. Explore to find new spots in you where it feels good to linger and breathe. Then linger and breathe.
Let your breath take over. Use it more than your muscles, and more than your mind.
This is one crazy cat-cow. It will get you into you, it will get you relaxed, and it will get you feeling really good.
You can apply all of this for pain, both in prevention and healing. The same principles work for giving yourself an energy boost, falling and staying happily asleep, and strengthening your immunity.
This kind of moving and exploration has a way of making people super-capable in their own bodies. It helps you get to know what you have, and reconnect every part of you with every other part. Moving with your whole self becomes possible again.
The best part is, you get great at being in you. You’ve made friends with you! From here, your body can get to work, drawing on its own incredible capacity to heal and live radiant and happy. From here, you are your own best cure.
You are your own best cure.
– by Mike
About Strala Yoga Training
Strala combines the movement and healing wisdom of tai chi with the form vocabularies of yoga, tai chi, qigong, and Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine, to help people release stress, move easily through challenge, and live radiantly inspiring lives.
It begins with a mindset, that says our best way to get where we’re going is to feel good along the way. It also works miracles for whole health, helping us to find ease in our bodies and minds, and create the right conditions both for healing and optimal performance.
In our Strala Training Courses, you learn to shape your destiny on every level that counts, from your psychology, chemistry and neurology, to your chromosomes and even gene expression. The unique set of skills you develop – for connecting with yourself and others, unblocking your energy, healing what needs healing and accomplishing challenge with ease – uncovers your ability to create the life you want, and be an inspiring leader to the people around you.