“Without awareness, there is no choice.”
-John F Barnes
Yin Yoga and Feeling Pain
Before I took MFR classes, I too had low back pain. It came about after starting an unhealthy yoga practice. Fortunately, a healthier yoga practice: yoga nidra and yin yoga helped me significantly. The yin yoga I did took my pain away immediately (at least temporarily). One day, I decided to multi-task. I decided to do yin yoga while practicing my Spanish. Can you say Rosetta Stone?
Unfortunately, my pain had not decreased at all. I was so focused on Spanish, I had ignored my body. And my pain remained. This moment, started my understanding of a mind-body connection, “Oh, my attention matters.” It turns out that by focusing on my body during a yoga session, I made fine tune adjustments that were critical to the healing process. By feeling my pain, I could relieve it. Beyond that, the mere act of feeling my body, feeling any emotions that came up, any sensations.
Current Pain Management
This experience contradicts current theory about pain management. Current theory states that the brain decides whether or not you feel pain (this is true). Therefore, we should ignore, push through the pain. They also recommend breathing exercises and relaxation methods, which I also support.
On the other hand, almost every other area of research recommends feeling more. Trauma researchers have found that patients must go into the trauma, at least a little, in order to heal through it. Anybody ever got angry when told to “calm down?” Brene Brown has found that the key to feeling joy, happiness, and connection, is feeling all the negative emotions too. Postural researchers found that deep postural muscles engage when people can feel where their body more, not less.
As I sat down for my first myofascial release class, John Barnes talked about the mind-body connection. He has been talking about it way before neuro research into pain had taken root. Except instead of avoiding pain, John Barnes recommends going into the pain. He recommends feeling it more, feeling what’s beneath the pain. By letting go of resistance, and giving yourself permission to feel, healing will come.
When you give yourself permission to feel, shifts can occur. This awareness differs from defining yourself by the pain or letting it become your identity. This process allows you to feel it in order to let it go.