Two things have prompted this post, one Cat's enquiry about the benefits of yoga and a TV show on cable tonight about pain.
I don't blog about yoga very often although I have been practicing twice a week for 3 years. I don't view it as part of my body sculpting/fitness routine, I do it mainly for my spiritual and mental health.
The benefits of yoga are beyond physical, and I mostly appreciate yoga because I am learning how to quieten my chaotic brain and to live consciously.
One of the principals of yoga is to experience what might be considered physical pain and to relax into it. You learn to acknowledge the pain and breathe through it by mentally focusing on releasing the muscle/joint/tendon and then pushing to the next level of pain and working through that.
You can try this at home. Sit on the floor in a relaxed cross legged position.
Thanks to upsidedowncarl [COOL name] for these pictures.
For some people, pain equals fear. They are afraid of pain and just want it to stop. So pushing your body is a really uncomfortable experience that is possibly more mental than physical.
I think it is about feeling, really feeling the pain. Stare it in the face. Once you can feel pain without fear you are close to invincible. Of course, I am not talking about hurting and damaging your precious body, but the discomfort that comes from challenging your body to do things that will make it stronger and more flexible. I think that I now have a healthy relationship with pain, which is why I can lift heavy weights, run, and endure DOMS.
And if you are working out really hard, you'll experience those endorphins which are natural painkillers anyway.
Remember "Pain is Fear leaving the body".
That Still Point at the Center of Your Being
"After a good practice--after the postures, after the rest, after some breathing techniques, when I am ready to sit and be still and go inside, where going inside simply happens naturally, not because I have tried--that internal stillness, that rare and beautiful calm where you can feel how much depth there is to your being, is such a treasure. It is my experience that you cannot try and create this state; you cannot force yourself into this state: all you can do is try and create the right circumstances for this to occur and then it may or it may not. Sort of like a beautiful day. You need to have the right circumstances, but it sure is nice when you fall into that feeling of harmony with yourself and everything around you. "