In my personal experience of yoga, there are two different types of pain:
- Pain that stings, snaps, or pinches you in the nerves. This may be due to hitting a compression and forcing through it; bone, muscle and joint shock as we come into a deep stretch without proper warm-ups; or overstretching.
- Tension pain, which is the sensation of tissues, such as muscles and ligaments when being stimulated.
In this article we are going to talk about the second type of pain. Tension pain is when we feel tightness and stiffness in the connective tissues. This is where you have to learn to sit and just be with the pain.
This is where mindfulness practice comes in handy. Before we move forward, let’s begin by understanding the definition of mindfulness. Mindfulness is psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training.
When we learn to just be mindful by observing the sensations in the body and mind, being aware of them without any judgments, and breathing into them, we create space in those areas by squeezing into constrictions, letting air and energy come through and eventually we will move past tension and limitations in the body and mind. In other words, if we gently stretch the physical boundaries little by little, still respecting its boundaries, our bodies will respond positively by releasing tension and opening more, thus improving our flexibility.
So, learn to differentiate the types of pain that arises. Pause to listen and notice what our bodies are telling us when we feel pain. When it’s the first type of pain, slowly release from the pose, and modify it as necessary. When it’s the second type of pain, learn to just be with it and breathe.
Now that we know about all this, let’s all practice mindfully and better yet, within guidance of a qualified yoga instructor.