There is nothing worse than living with chronic illness and feeling resigned to a life of suffering. I see countless people who have become frustrated by the medical establishment’s response to their particular problem or health issue. Your doctor may not have a clue as to how to help you. He/she may be prescribing drugs which have negative side effects and do nothing to get to the root of your problem. This can become a vicious cycle and can lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair. One of the first steps towards healing from chronic illness, is to take responsibility for your own situation and health. In many cases, we are causing our own symptoms, due to our lifestyle choices.
Once we realize that we may be contributing greatly to our own health issues, we begin to feel empowered. If we “caused” the problem, then we have the power to “solve” the problem. Understandably this is not simple or easy and clearly health problems are never the result of one single cause, but rather there may be many contributing factors. You may have a genetic predisposition for a particular disease, but by making lifestyle changes you can possibly minimize the damage or suffering. In other cases, we may have been exposed to toxins in the environment or from food or drugs, that are having a detrimental effect on our health. Regardless of the outside causes, I still believe that most of our healing comes from within and starts with our attitude and belief system.
So where does yoga come into the picture, and how can yoga help us heal from chronic illness or injury?
Using myself as an example, I’ve been able to heal from both Irritable Bowel Syndrome and chronic low back pain. I credit much if not all of the healing, to my consistent, daily yoga practice. Here is a summary of what I learned. Perhaps you can use this as a guide to begin your own path towards a higher quality of life.
- Using the breath to quiet the mind is the highest form of meditation. Through daily meditation (even just 10 minutes / day) you can open the door to the dormant creative potential that lives inside you. The answer you seek may arise spontaneously during or after your daily breathing / meditation session.
- Whenever you are feeling stressed, come back to this breathing technique. Practice breath awareness and breathing from your belly, as much as possible through out your busy day. Regardless of what you are doing, stay aware of the quality of your breathing. Always aim for deep breaths from your belly. The compound effect of this, is an over all improvement in your health and your out look
- Have faith and practice positive thinking. Although this my sound like a cliche, change is not possible without faith. The use of a mantra can be very helpful here. To learn how to use a mantra for personal growth and healing: MANTRA
- If you have any hunches or realizations that specific habits may be contributing to your health problem or illness, start moving towards changing those habits. The mantra can be used to change a habit. Another tool that will support you in this can be found here. How to Change A Habit
- Trust Your Intuition – Yoga helps us access the Higher Intelligence that lives inside us. Don’t dismiss this voice of reason and brilliance. If you have an insight during meditation – Write it down! Continue to meditate on that idea and see what arises. This could be the smartest thing you’ve ever done!
- Heal your body with yoga postures. Daily practice is the key to healing with yoga. Start here with this simple practice that anyone can learn and do.