These nine easy yoga poses can help you to reduce chronic pain.

Chronic pain can consume your life, debilitating the body and distracting the mind. Multiple studies have shown that a yoga practice can help lessen the effects of chronic pain, reducing muscle stiffness and joint pain, as well as strengthening the body and improving range of motion and flexibility.

The research also indicates that Yoga counteracts chronic discomfort on a neuronal level, increasing the longevity of gray matter in the brain. Researchers found that the parasympathetic system is activated when yoga practitioners anticipate pain (think of the “tend-and-befriend” response) rather than the sympathetic nervous system (the “fight or flee” response). This suggests that yogis experience pain differently from non-yogis. Yoga, when done mindfully, can strengthen the body and mind to help with chronic pain.

If you are in pain, Yoga may not be what you’d like to do. Instead, start with some simple poses. Consult your doctor before beginning a yoga routine, and modify poses according to your physical and psychological needs.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Breath has a significant impact on our nervous system and even on how we feel. By breathing deeply using your diaphragm, you can calm down the nervous system. It keeps you calm and helps you deal with chronic pain.

To practice, come into a comfortable seated position. Place your hands underneath the ribcage and breathe evenly. Close your eyes and focus on the sensations of inhaling and exhaling for 3-5 minutes.

Savasana and a Body Scan

Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is a great pose for relaxation and release. A full-body scan can help you become more aware of your body, its pains, and sensations. Imagine a bright white light shining on your head as you lie in Savasana. This white light should slowly move down your body, highlighting each area.

Imagine the white light entering those areas as you breathe. Repeat the scan from 1 to 5 times.

Standing Side Stretch

The side stretches can be used to improve balance and lengthen the psoas, arms, and core. Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), and bring the palms together. Stretch the side of the body by pushing the hips to one side and reaching the palm towards the other. As you breathe, alternate sides.

Legs up the Wall

This is a good way to relieve low back pain and support tired feet. Bring your bottom to the wall and rest your head on a cushion. Allow your body to relax by putting up the feet. Concentrate on your breathing and the sensations of your body.

Supine Twist

This twist helps stretch your neck and back. Start by lying on your stomach and bringing the knees to the chest. Gently guide the bent leg to the other side while extending your arm. Gaze up at the hand.

Bridge Pose

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or Bridge Pose, activates your core and back. It also provides a good stretch to the chest and quads, as well as relief from low back pain. A block can be placed under the lower back for extra support.

Warrior II with Chair

Virabhadrasana I with a chair can be a great way to strengthen your lower body and relieve knee pain. Sit on a chair and rotate one leg, pressing it into the ground. Press the side of your foot into the earth. Extend the opposite foot outwards. Find your alignment by extending the arms.

Baddha Konasana

This asana, also known as the Butterfly Pose, helps to stretch your hips and knees while cultivating focus. Bring the soles of your feet together and find a comfortable position. Place blocks or blankets underneath the knees, thighs, and sit bones.

Wall Plank

You may feel uneasy and uncomfortable if you suffer from shoulder or elbow pain. Place your hands on a wall. Start by bending your elbows while keeping the feet hip-width apart. Hold your nose against the wall and then rise.

Consistent Yoga is an effective tool for strengthening the body and helping you to reframe your mindset in dealing with chronic pain. Adapt your poses to your body and your needs and develop awareness to manage chronic pain effectively.

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