Yoga can be helpful in pain management with both physical and mental benefits, but yoga is not a quick fix solution. Yoga has many of the same benefits as mindfulness practice, due to the common focus on breath, body and present moment awareness. Because yoga is also a physical practice many people find yoga more accessible than traditional meditation practices, which are undertaken in stillness.
Yoga is particularly helpful in promoting relaxation when encountering stress and agitation. Yoga traditionally serves as a ‘warm up’ of sorts for formal sitting and lying mindfulness meditation practice. Yoga can also invigorate the body to help counter depression.
Yoga is very helpful in treating some of the mechanical aspects of pain, for example when there are tight muscles which contribute to pain. However, practiced incorrectly or without proper supervision yoga can also exacerbate your pain in the short term, despite the fact that research shows yoga is as safe as usual care and exercise. Coming up with a helpful yoga routine requires greater care and experience when you have a persistent pain condition, especially when your nervous system is sensitized and you are prone to flare-ups.
When starting yoga it is important to start slowly and it must be practiced regularly and with awareness to be effective.