Battling chronic pain can be challenging and can prove to be quite frustrating, especially if your efforts are unsuccessful. None of us want to be dependent on pain meds, much less have to up our dose, so finding natural ways to alleviate pain is kind of a big deal.

According to Psychology Today, research indicates that the effects of chronic pain can be reduced, or prevented, by altering environmental factors and making lifestyle choices that improve the pain modulatory systems in the brain, but what does that really mean? In the simplest terms, making time for low impact exercise and activities or experiences that give you a more positive outlook on life can help you find relief in your day to day life. One low impact exercise that can help you manage pain: yoga. It also doesn’t hurt to have the added benefits! Yoga can contribute to the feelings of emotional and mental centeredness, as well as aid in weight loss and overall health!

If you have back pain…

Yoga Pose #1: Cobra

Start by laying on your stomach with your feet together. Place your hands, palms facing down, on the ground right underneath your shoulders, as if you’re about to do a pushup. Instead of pushing your entire body up, keep the lower half of your body on the ground or mat and push up while the breast bone extends towards the chin. Keep your shoulder blades drawn down and away from your ears. Hold this pose for 10 seconds.

Yoga Pose #2: Restorative Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Start by laying flat on your back. Support your head and neck with a pillow or blanket. Draw your knees into your chest and press your knees outward, opening your pelvis. Imagine your inner groins are sinking into your pelvis. Lay your arms on the floor, palms up. Hold this position for as long as you feel comfortable.

Yoga Pose #3: Child’s Pose 

Start by getting into all four’s. Bend your knees and shift your weight back until your chest is resting on your legs, arms outstretched. Enjoy this posture for 10 seconds, or as long as you feel comfortable.

If you have neck and shoulder pain…

Yoga Pose #1: Cow Face Arms 

From all fours, cross your right knee over the left, stacking one on top of the other. Sit down between your legs rooting both sit bones on the floor or mat. Reach your right arm out to the side, then rotate the arm inwardly so the thumb faces the ground. Exhale your arm behind your back, bend the elbow, and work your hand up towards your neck.  Roll your right shoulder back and down.

Inhale, reach your left arm forward, palm up, and draw your arm towards the sky. Exhale, bend your elbow. Reach to grasp your fingers. Use a strap or towel if the fingers do not yet clasp.

Yoga Pose #2: Viparita Karani (Legs Against the Wall Pose) 

Most commonly, this pose is used for postural yoga. Essentially it’s a supported shoulder stand with your elbows on the floor and hands supporting the hips or lower back. This pose is used to allow the body to rest in an inverted way without extensive effort. The lower back and backside are supported, while the legs are rested against a wall.

Yoga Pose #3: Standing Side Stretch 

While sitting in a sturdy chair or bench, keep your feet flat on the floor,  hip-width apart. Slightly lean your body forward, but avoid curving your spine. Maintain perfect posture if possible. Keep your body, waist up, in a straight up-and-down line. Raise your arm over your head and peel your upper body to the opposite side while reaching. You should feel a nice stretch in your side body.  

If you have knee pain…

Yoga Pose #1: Bridge Pose 

While laying flat on your back on a comfortable floor (use a mat or thick rug if you’d like), bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor, as close to your bottom as your body will allow. Press through your feet and back of your arms to lift your pelvis into the air and feel the stretch around your knees.

Read Next: 

Yoga for Stress Relief (part 1) 

Yoga for Stress Relief (part 2) 

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