Yoga & Meditation: Complementary Therapies for Chronic Pain & Inflammation

thepositivepear_meditation_yoga.pngOn November 11, 2016 at 11:11am, so 11-11-16 at 11:11am this blog will be four years old! All I can think is WOW!  In spite of my long hiatus from posting any updates, this blog continues to be a wonderful resources for “Spondys & Spoonies,” I still receive emails and FB messages from people thanking me for information that I’ve shared here, which is so very touching, quite amazing and extremely rewarding.  Anyone who continues to follow the blog, or checks back periodically to read posts, can probably gather that I’m a big advocate for holistic health and I’ve shared on a variety of topics relating to complementary therapies and alternative treatments and one of my absolute favorite posts, were those where I shared information on the wonderful benefits of yoga and meditation for Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I posted in those days as a lover of yoga and an avid practitioner, now I have the wonderful privilege of sharing information from the perspective of not only someone who practices yoga, but also as someone who teaches both yoga & meditation. Since starting this blog, I’ve become a Registered Yoga Teacher & Meditation Teacher. Though I’ve been in the Health, Wellness & Fitness industry for a very long time and have always helped people achieve their health, wellness and fitness goals in one capacity or another, I’m very excited to travel this new path. I’m even more excited to have the opportunity to work with “Spondys & Spoonies” in person as I help them to incorporate yoga & meditation as a means of helping to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. This a huge milestone towards the vision that I had for this project when starting it fours years ago.

I referred to yoga & meditation as complementary therapies, which speaks to the traction that yoga is gaining in the health industry, as providers incorporate “yoga as a therapy” into their practices.  While acupuncture, chiropractic treatment and nutritional counseling are some of the more common “complementary” therapies, yoga is quickly joining the ranks. Especially when considering the fact that Rehab Hospitals and clinics that provide occupational therapy, commonly incorporate Iyengar yoga into their patients health care regimens, as a means of helping them to build strength through proper alignment.  This is because yoga poses are isometric movements, which make it much easier for patients to achieve, in spite of inflamed tissues.  As opposed to the repetitive movements used in traditional physical therapy, that tend to exacerbate inflammation.  Iyengar and true Hatha yoga not only encourages proper alignment, but builds strength from holding the poses a lot longer than you would in a Vinyasa yoga and the use of breath helps patients to endure the temporary discomfort.  Incorporating yoga helps patients to achieve alignment awareness, which makes it easier for them practice the postures at home, thus contributing to a more successful recovery. 

Cancer Centers have been incorporating yoga into their cancer treatment programs for more than 10 years. Studies have shown that yoga helps to reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue and stress for some patients. Combined with meditation, the results have been improvements in sleep quality and a boost in patient mood and overall well-being.

Some medical centers are also incorporating yoga, along with other complementary therapies into their primary care. Doctors are actually referring patients to the on staff clinical yoga specialists, who works with patients to help develop a yoga sequence specifically for their particular ailment. This is exactly what I envisioned two years ago when posting an article on how yoga and alternative therapies were beginning to show up as elective courses at many medical schools across the country. This is so much better than a prescription for yoga that I spoke about in that post, because doctors and yoga therapists are now collaborating in medical centers to develop comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to healing. As someone living with chronic pain, who advocates for holistic health and appreciates the value of yoga as a practitioner and teacher, seeing western medicine incorporating so many aspects of eastern medicine and philosophy makes me very happy.

Stay Positive…It’s Your Right To Be Free + You Deserve to Be Happy.

We are inundated with negativity. Negativity has not only become the norm but also an epidemic and the media supplies a steady flood of it quite regularly. We all experience the negative effects of things that impact our lives or the world around us.  The economy, gas prices, food prices, world hunger, famine, war, sickness, chronic illness, disasters, human trafficking, child slavery, crime, murder, stress, anxiety.  When we look at it as a whole it appears that our world in turmoil and as a result people are angry and sometimes full or rage. Good manners, customer service and appreciation are quickly becoming things of the past. It’s becoming less about people and relationships and more about going through the motions.  Common business transactions have become just that. People no longer take pride in their jobs, or concern themselves with a job well done.  They take your money without even making eye contact or saying thank you. Many have a blatant disregard for common courtesy and could care less about pleasantries. There are aggressive drivers and road rage. Parents bringing harm to children, so their own children can get ahead. People are hurting and they’re feeling guarded. Many are suffering either physically or emotionally. In a world where we once had a strong sense of pride, people lack of self-worth, have low self-esteem and have no hope. One person feels badly about themselves and they attempt to drag others down with them, so the negativity spreads. When we continuously encounter rude behavior, confrontation, judgement and negativity, we can easily become desensitized. We can easily slip into a frame of mind where we can begin to feel defensive wanting to match the negativity around us and to what avail? Should we remain in this cycle of negativity or do we become the change that we’d like to see in the world around us?   We can not change other people and their ways of thinking, but we can change our attitudes toward the negativity that we encounter. It helps when we are able to focus on what’s right in our own lives and on the many ways that we can “be positive” and on the many ways in which we can remain positive.  In spite of the awful things that are going on around us. Being positive does not come at this risk of ignoring the realities of life, or our own personal struggles.  Taking on this positive frame of mind is actually a way of giving ourselves hope.  Allowing us the opportunity to find enjoyment in life and perhaps sharing some of that joy with others, so be positive, remain hopeful….stay positive!  It’s your right to be free & you deserve to be happy!!