Are there good pain and bad pain in yoga? The response of therapeutic Yoga

Is the pain any good? Is there a good pain in yoga and one that shouldn't be reached? We talked about this topic with José Manuel Vázquez, promoter of the II Therapeutic Yoga Days, which are being held this month in Madrid.

Jose Manuel Vazquez He chairs the Shiva-Shakti Association of Integral Yoga. He is Professor and Formator of teachers certified by Yoga Alliance. University expert in yoga therapy by CEU and European Yoga Alliance. Member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, of the Spanish Association of practitioners of Yoga and the Professional Association of Yoga teachers in Madrid. Since 2001 he has run its own school of yoga, Yoga organic, where she researches a comprehensive and organic teaching of yoga and since 2010 directs a teacher training based on these principles. He answers our doubts:

What is pain and what is it for?
The ability to feel pain is vitally important. It is a neuronal protection mechanism that has been programmed into our nervous systems for millions of years of evolution of life on Earth. Refusing pain can have disastrous consequences. Individuals who cannot feel pain are exposed without being aware of it to risky situations that can seriously damage their integrity. It is a universal and at the same time subjective experience; how a person perceives stimuli as painful depends on biological, but also emotional and cognitive, factors. Pain is a complex matter that requires time for reflection.

It's also a controversial issue. If elected, it can strengthen our character; if it's imposed, it can plunge us into a chronic depression. There are people who, through the pain caused, are released from more complex pains. Some people who through pain connect with pleasure and become addicted to it. Pain as a means of atonement and even of transcendence has always been part of religion and universal mystique. Pain is also related to the processes of consciousness and recognition of our ignorance, and is therefore inevitable for those involved in their personal growth. The pain according to the Bhagavad Gita it is a defining characteristic of human life; for Buddhists is a consequence of the changing nature of desire. Pain supports many meanings and can be understood in many ways. The narratives about pain accompany us from the beginning of time and are very varied.

Good pain and bad pain? How do we differentiate them?
Differentiate both pains can be a significant change in our sadhana. In our asana practice we can say that the pain that comes from the joints warns us that some of the structures that make up the joint capsule, the ligaments that cross it or the tendons that connect it to the muscle fibers are being forced and are at risk of Injury. Puede ser producto de una inadecuada alineación, de una sobrecarga innecesaria, de una sobre-exigencia, de una activación muscular deficiente, o incluso de una falta de atención recurrente. Son fácilmente reconocibles porque son dolores concretos, puntuales y que podemos fácilmente señalar. Nos obligan a tomar conciencia de lo que hacemos en el momento presente. Nos invitan a salir de la postura y a entrar a ella desde otro lugar y suelen acompañarse de una cierta frustración y rigidez.

Tambien pueden darse otro tipo de malestar que no llega a sentirse como dolor pero que es igualmente nocivo porque nos hace sentir bloqueados, pesados y nos impiden respirar. Pueden revelar un auténtico conflicto interior de intereses. En este caso es recomendable pedir asesoramiento a nuestro profesor para encontrar un lugar diferente de anclaje y modificar el objetivo de la ejecución.

On the other hand hay sensaciones de estiramiento que son liberadoras y que pueden ser confundidas con sensaciones dolorosas por su intensidad. Suelen darse a lo largo de toda una cadena muscular o grupo muscular y en las partes más largas de los huesos. Éstas sensaciones nos invitan a entrar más en profundidad en la vivencia del asana y a respirar de manera más profunda, regulada y sutil. Son una descarga de tensión saludable que nos proporcionan alivio.

¿Por qué nos sentimos fuertes y capaces de todo después de una sesión de ejercicio intenso, e igualmente después de una práctica intensa de yoga? ¿Qué posibles trampas hay en esta experiencia desde tu perspectiva?
El ejercicio mejora la circulación sanguínea, el metabolismo general del cuerpo y la actividad del cerebro. En toda actividad física intensa nuestro cerebro produce endorfinas y serotonina como mecanismo de refuerzo. Ambas son sustancias endógenas que elevan nuestro estado de ánimo y los niveles de energía disponibles. Las endorfinas son llamadas las hormonas de la felicidad; similares a la morfina y al opio, provocan en el organismo una analgesia descendente transitoria, disminuyen la percepción del dolor y nos proporcionan una cierta euforia. Sin embargo la sensación de que “las dificultades desaparecen” y que “podemos con todo” no deja de ser transitoria; salimos a la calle y al cabo de un rato nos volvemos a enfrentar con los mismos problemas de siempre si no les hemos dado solución.

Sometimes we use certain activities to drain our stress and escape from the problems. A veces el gimnasio, el chocolate o el sexo, por poner tres casos fácilmente reconocibles, nos enganchan porque nos proporcionan una satisfacción inmediata. Nos hacemos adictos a las cosas que nos hacen sentir bien porque hay poderosas razones químicas para ello. Sin embargo, a la larga es necesario relacionarnos con el vacío, la “abstinencia” (y la ansiedad que ello nos genera), de manera más consciente para poder elaborar recursos de gestión adecuados a nuestras circunstancias personales. Entiendo que no es fácil pero se puede.

In your book The therapeutic values of Yoga hablas de cómo nos hacemos adictos a este tipo de dolor y sin embargo no aceptamos el dolor de crecer, de tener que enfrentar situaciones difíciles. ¿Qué propone el yoga? ¿Podemos también caer en la trampa del escape haciendo yoga?
No es tanto lo que hacemos, sino más bien cómo lo hacemos. In yoga the physical activity becomes a transforming to be accompanied with an action practice meditation and breathing que nos pone en contacto con nuestras dinámicas inconscientes. Se produce una reeducación neuromotora consciente y no es raro que en los momentos de escucha interior que propicia el yoga lleguemos a tomar conciencia de lo que podemos hacer para regular nuestra “química emocional”, de los parámetros mentales que nos hacen daño o de las circunstancias que por omisión o acto se han vuelto tóxicas para nosotros.

La solución no es volverse insensible. No es mirando a otro lado como el conflicto se soluciona; pero tampoco es cuestión de estar todo el día analizando y confrontando nuestras sombras pues podemos quedar atrapados en una visión distorsionada de la realidad. A veces necesitamos un respiro, un poco de oxígeno y cambiar de perspectiva. Creo que cada uno es libre de utilizar el yoga como mejor crea conveniente. It is useful to explore all the possibilities that yoga offers us and observe the results, and then have the opportunity to change the guidelines that we thought were appropriate but that in the long run are not working for us.

¿Qué cualidades y sensibilidades propias de un “psicólogo” necesita el profesor de yoga terapéutico para tratar con estos procesos?
The pedagogical model in which the organic yoga I teach is supported is based on the yamas and niyamas of yoga. From the first of them, the principle of non-violence, ahimsa, all others are derived. It's very easy to tell the other what to do but it's not very useful. This has cost me many years of mistakes and learning. Imposing our authority is an exercise of power of last resort that awakens in the other, consciously or unconsciously, the sleeping wounds of other situations of consensual violence. The teacher and student share a space of mutual security and trust; freedom, listening and deep respect for what happens there. This interior workspace is very fragile and can be broken before we know it.

It is not so simple to accept our way of being and that of the other, nor to understand what is happening to us and to know how to explain what happens to us before denying and closing any possibility of dialogue. To do this, the development of communication and listening, recognizing our shortcomings and abilities, as well as those of others, focusing on what is important to us, relying on our own and other resources, taking care of ourselves and as far as possible not harming the another, studying, researching, observing, learning and accepting the role that we have to live in each moment, are some skills that enable us to be able to accompany others on this journey. According to the ethics of yoga, being aware of all this is the beginning and probably the key to understanding what causes us pain.

As far as possible, Finding a place of inner peace and sharing a space of friendly silence is a good starting point for developing our therapeutic work through yoga.

More information about the II Jornadas de summer Yoga Integral HERE

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By • 24 Jul, 2018 • Sección: Signatures, Bless you