“Choosing LOVE over FEAR is a spiritual practice. A daily workout for your soul’s health.’ – John Mark Green
Pain has been in my life every day for over two years thanks to a nasty bloody burnout period and shingles infection. Most mums can relate to living with some level of discomfort on a daily basis as we attempt to juggle careers and motherhood, but for me, coping with all of that plus daily physical pain proved too much. So going slow became the new flow.
You don’t wake up one morning and all of a sudden ‘have burnout’. It’s nature is sneaky and insidious and creeps up on us over time, like Christmas! My burnout period was a result of always racing from one thing to the next which meant that my whole life was spent rushing and being ‘busy’. It is at this exact point when you either recognise the warning signs and pull yourself up on it, or develop a chronic condition, sometimes an autoimmune disease, sometimes anxiety or depression or sometimes diagnosed adrenal burnout.
There is nothing unique about my story and unfortunately many women I see in my community have similar experiences. It’s not out of the ordinary for them to turn up to a yoga class exhausted or with injuries or illness that develops into chronic pain. So I always remind them that they are a human being not a machine, and that they are definitely not alone. The yoga and mindfulness then becomes another valuable tool to add to their pain management toolkit and connect them with a community of like minded people.
Persistent pain can be like having a hole in your soul. It is so relentlessness that it’s not a matter of if it breaks your spirit but when. So it’s in my experience, finding the solutions to treat it requires a very holistic approach. The medical system addresses the physical body most often with medication, however, it doesn’t include the social and emotional challenges which means people don’t heal completely or become dependent on painkiller pills. So how do we improve this complex pain healing process? By addressing the mind, body AND spirit on the mat.
So before you start medicating, consider meditating first. If sitting still is too challenging then try sitting in a stretch. An entire Mindful Yoga class offers a series of these bite size chunks of mini meditations in a yin yoga pose. Over time, your practice may evolve into a more seated meditation home practice. A fabulous tool to have when you have little ones at home and need your own time out.
The following five Yin Yoga Poses are my favourite and will help you become more painfree. You can stay in all these poses for two to five minutes slowly transitioning to the next one while focussing on each inhalation and exhalation.
- Butterfly Pose.
Bending your knees, bring the soles of the feet together with your hands on your ankles. Move your feet forward so your legs form a diamond shape. As your knees drop out to the side like butterfly wings. Fold forward and let gravity take all your tension toward the earth. Rest your forehead on a big pillow. A beautiful hip opener.
- Legs up the Wall.
Find a wall or a bed and a cushion for your head. Swing your legs up and lie back to enjoy the inversion. Reclaim your energy and take deep breaths in this deeply restoring pose. My favourite.
- Twisted Childs Pose
Spread your knees apart keeping your big toes together. Sit back with your hips back near your feet. Twisting to the left, take your right shoulder toward your left knee resting it on the floor with arm outstretched. Right ear and forehead can rest on floor. Repeat on other side. Your shoulders should be relaxed and tension free.
- Lying Supine Twist
Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, and your arms out to the side for support. On an exhalation, allow your knees to drop to the left while keeping the right side of your upper back and shoulder weighted towards the floor. Turn your head in the opposite direction to your legs. Stay for 4 mins and repeat on the other side. An awesome twist to lengthen the spine.
Sounds like Bananarama. Lying on your back with your legs together and straight on the floor, reach the arms overhead and clasp your hands or elbows. With your buttocks firmly glued to the earth, move your feet and upper body to the right. Arch like a nice, ripe banana. Be careful not to twist or roll your hips off the floor. Find your first edge. When your body opens more, move both feet further to the right and pull your upper body further to the right, as well. Keep playing this edge and you might feel an amazing sensation down the whole side of your torso. Stay for 4 mins and repeat on other side.
You can attend one of my classes in Middle Park or practice these poses in the comfort of your own home using these Mindful Colouring Yin cards as a reminder. www.restoreayogamum.com.au