Based on the latest advances in mind-body research and the wisdom of the yoga tradition, Yoga for Pain Relief offers both a new way of thinking about the causes of suffering and practical strategies for ending it. Readers will learn how past experiences with injury, illness, and other stressful life events change the relationship between body and mind and how negative mind-body habits actually create and reinforce pain. Far from being a simple book of postures, this guide presents a complete mind-body program for healing chronic pain. Readers learn deep relaxation practices drawn from the yogic tradition, and work toward incorporating those practices into their daily lives. The book also helps readers address feelings of anger or betrayal that may be keeping them from making peace with their bodies. Black-and-white photographs clarify the yoga postures
Kelly McGonigal PhD has taught yoga through Stanford University’s Health Improvement Program to people with chronic pain conditions for almost a decade. She has taken the techniques that she has taught in her regular Tuesday afternoon “stretch and strengthening glass” and put them in an easily accessible format for all pain sufferers to benefit
McGonigal herself is a former chronic pain sufferer. She received her doctorate in psychology from Stanford and is also the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Yoga a peer-reviewed journal for yoga professionals and health-care providers.
The patients in her class suffer from pain related to back injuries, shoulder injuries,hip pain, knee replacements and carpal tunnel syndrome. Many are older, rebutting the excuse that “I am too old, too big, or too stiff” to do yoga. “If you can breathe, you can do yoga”, says McGonigal.
“It strengthens my core, improves my balance, my flexibility,” says 68-year-old Kathy Davis. Her physician prescribed yoga classes as an abdominal strengthening exercise to prepare for the fusion of two vertebrae in her lower back. Not only does she report to be pain-free, but also calm and peaceful.
Although yoga has been around for thousands of years, it is being brought into use by many mainstream healthcare practices and used in clinical studies for its various health benefits. Yoga increases muscular flexibility and strength, it eases stress and anxiety, and can improve back pain by improving posture.
Researchers from UCLA, for example, found that regular participation in yoga may help prevent or alleviate symptoms of kyphosis, or hunched back, fairly common in older patients as a result of arthritis or osteoporosis. A separate study, published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine found yoga to be beneficial for another common type of pain – lower back pain. And finally, a third study performed at Ohio State University found that yoga can help reduce the inflammatory process in the body that accompanies many chronic health conditions.