Chronic pain in your lower back, shoulders, head can make your life miserable. Perhaps you’ve tried Tylenol, Nsaids or other pain relieving medication? There are many bad side effects that come along with the temporary relief that you are feelings from chronic pain.
Pain is exacerbated by our emotions when it hurts. For many people stress tightens the muscles around the places where you are hurting. It’s scary when pain has gotten to a point where the medication provides only temporary or partial relief. It can make it difficult be active and to sleep from pain at night. If you don’t sleep well, that can increase your weight and make you more miserable. Chronic pain causes chronic stress which leads to higher levels of cortisol. Under the effect of stress and cortisol, weight gain is more likely (especially belly fat) and weight loss is next to impossible!
But there is something that can make the pain go away, relieve stress, and help you to lose weight – UNINTENTIONALLY – WITHOUT DIETING!
It’s YOGA! Yes, slow, mindful, gentle yoga has proven time and again that it is the perfect practice to relieve stress and pain. But this is a different type of yoga than you might be accustomed to. It may not be what you associate with “real” yoga because it’s not doing active poses such a warrior, downward dog and other asanas (yoga poses). This type of yoga is a gentle mindful or moving meditative practice where you are lying on the ground, supported with pillows, bolsters and blocks to get your body into the perfect position so you can release tension from your muscles. You will be directed through a series of movements that are slow and repetitive while your mind is focused on releasing the tension in your spine. The central nervous system that runs down your spine has nerves that reach out to all the organs, and this must first be relaxed in order for your body to feel safe and supported enough to let go of tension and for you to really relax! When you are relaxed, it drops your cortisol levels and changes your metabolism.
This gentle yoga practice is a lot better than taking medication to try and rid yourself of chronic pain, or dieting and actually sabotaging your ability to lose weight. But just like you have to continue to take medication when you have a chronic condition, in order to improve your resilience to stress, and change your physiology, you must practice gentle mindful yoga a few times a week. Just like your home collects dust every day, humans collect tension from events during their day. Yoga “dusts” out the stress and allows your body to restore health and wellbeing! Furthermore, even though you can ease the tension one day, with long years of experiencing habitual tight muscles from stress, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of the tension in just one session. It’s likely to come back until you have begun a new habit of relaxing that muscle group. And you might not even notice where in your body that you are “uptight” until you spend some time in gentle yoga mindfully scanning your body and trying to gently move those areas in your body where you hold tension.
Under the effect of stress, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol which can initiate very serious effects inside your body, including heart disease, thinning bones and muscles, diabetes, and a host of other chronic disorders and diseases. Cortisol can even cause an increase in belly fat, and prevent weight loss.
It is in your best interest for your health and wellbeing to allocate a time and place in your day to gift yourself time to relieve stress and tension. After a short time you will look forward to this practice in your life and definitely feel and see the benefits!
For a surprising number of women, one of the benefits of a mindful meditative yoga practice is unintentional weight loss. As the stress is relieved and tension leaves your body the excess weight just disappears all by itself. (but if you are dieting, this positive effect will be sabotaged- see my book Diet Industry Lies, to see why).
In most cases, persistent or chronic pain will begin to lessen in strength and duration as reported by women who have started this practice. And for many, despite no change in their diet the stress relief translates into permanent weight loss. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter to be contacted when I release my new audio instructional program of “Relax and Heal Yoga”.