Less Pain Please
What would you say if I told you you can control the pain you feel? You could dial it down as you see fit. Dr Joe Tatta explains in his blog How Your Can Rewire Your Brain To Release Physical Pain;
“Pain is an output of the brain, not an input from the body. Your brain creates pain, and you are in control of your thoughts and brain. Therefore, in a sense, you have the ability to control pain”.
Not only does our mind govern how far we can push our efforts, it also creates the thoughts and beliefs we hold about our painful experiences.
Weights And Resistance Training
This hold our brain has over our pain levels is extremely obvious when using weights and completing resistance exercises in the gym. Some days you step into your workout with an enormous amount of motivation and drive. You are hungry for results and can push yourself to your limits.
Other days your brain interprets a state of self that is less motivated. It may not even be in response to physical stimuli like sore muscles or a long day at work. There are just those days where your brain says no. No to the drive. No to the will power. No, this pain is just too much for me today. Your brain makes you believe you are physically unable to make that extra rep.
The Influence Of The Mind On The Body
Building a stronger connection with the body and mind allows you to change your thought patterns and relationship with pain. By training the brain to produce different responses and physiological reactions, weight trainers in the gym can bypass the level of pain they use to deem ‘too much’.
Yin yoga holds the key to retraining the way your brain perceives pain and discomfort. Catherine Woodyard, in her research article for the International Journal of Yoga, explains how;
“Yoga encourages one to relax, slow the breath and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system and the flight-or-fight response to the parasympathetic system and the relaxation response”.
Yin And the Edge Of Pain
When practicing Yin yoga, we open up our body on a variety of levels. Physically we push ourselves to a point called our ‘Therapeutic Edge’. This place is one that is obtained by pushing to the point of a stretch that is painful resistance, and then backing off slightly. Holding this place, which is often deemed as pleasurable pain, can be uncomfortable for the long duration of Yin yoga poses.
It is here you become intimate with your pain threshold. It is hear you can decipher the difference between the brain and the physical body’s experience of pain. Your Therapeutic Edge is the place for you to retrain your brain and become comfortable in discomfort.
Create A State Of Body Conducive To Results
With greater mind control over our body’s sympathetic nervous system, we can decrease our heart rate and breathing, lower our blood pressure, decrease cortisol levels and increase blood flow to the vital organs. Overall, the ability to use your ‘yoga mind’ when lifting weights can put your body in a state that is conducive for greater results.
Catherine also points out the how training the mind to promote this state of body combats pain head on;
“..stimulate the rewarding pleasure centers in the median forebrain and other areas leading to a state of bliss and pleasure.- further endurance of pain”.
Employ A Little Yin To Increase Your Yang
Life is a balance. By experiencing Yin yoga you are cultivating a more peaceful state of body and mind. You are learning about yourself more deeply and becoming interlinked with your brain and body’s perceptions and experiences of fatigue and pain. This experience follows you when your Yin yoga session is over. See how it can influence your mind and create new thoughts and experiences of physical, mental and emotional pain throughout your life.
Allow Yin yoga to build you a body and mind that feels the pain, but doesn’t let it break your will power.