Mindful Yoga For Chronic Pain
Level 1 Training for Yoga Teachers and Physical Therapists
With Kimberly and Jim Carson
Mindful Yoga for Persistent Pain is a professional training program offered to registered yoga instructors, physical therapists, and other health professionals. Mindful Yoga, as applied in clinical trials of the “Yoga of Awareness” intervention (see Research), has been shown to help people experiencing persistent pain to minimize pain, fatigue and emotional distress while increasing vigor, acceptance, and relaxation. This professional training is designed for registered yoga instructors and will introduce the skills needed to teach yoga to persons who experience chronic pain. This training will also introduce participants to how the Mindful Yoga Program unfolds. Mindful Yoga elegantly and systematically integrates the deep essence of yoga with contemporary wisdom and research – instilling in students the value of a disciplined meditation practice, key principles of yoga philosophy, gentle posture and breathing practices, and community with other yoga practitioners.
In the ancient yogic texts it is stated: “Physical sensations – cold and heat, pleasure and pain – are transient: they come and go; so bear them patiently.” How does one really live this teaching? And how can we convey this wisdom in a practical, accessible way so that people with chronic pain can discover authentic relief? We believe that the deeper yogic teachings, including how to relate to difficult sensations, thoughts and emotions, are essential for yoga to be optimally effective for helping people to have fulfilling lives despite their pain.
Mindful Yoga as we teach it is distinct from many current hatha yoga styles in that 1) it intensively emphasizes moment-to-moment mind/body awareness during asana practice, rather than the precise execution of postural alignments; and 2) substantial practice of meditation, breathing exercises, key principles of yoga philosophy, and community with other yoga practitioners are highlighted along with posture practice. Mindful Yoga is thus consistent with how the discipline of yoga has been traditionally practiced in India. Traditional topics are explored in Mindful Yoga, such as the principles of simple being (sat), awareness (chit), love (ananda), acceptance (tapas), and skill in action (karmasu kaushalam). Also modern concerns are addressed, such as the physiological underpinnings of mind/body stress reactivity, and how yoga may have beneficial effects on stress-related problems.
This powerful and transformative training is a blend of instruction, practice and discussion. The training will focus on tailoring the program for people living with conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic low back pain, and other chronic illnesses that entail persistent pain.
In the Master Program, OHSU faculty will also provide expert presentations on important aspects of the chronic pain experience, such as exercise physiology and chronic pain, musculoskeletal pain, neuropathic pain, cancer-related pain, and physical therapy considerations.
During this training we will explore:
- Evidence-based modules for persistent pain and related symptoms such as fatigue
- Tailoring asana and pranayama to specific symptoms
- Principles of Mindful Yoga
- Contexting yogic principles for people from various faith traditions
- Effective and clear ways of presenting models of stress
- Appropriate guidance for working with the mind
- Partnering with the medical community
- Group facilitation skills
Upon completion of the training, participants will receive a certificate of completion from OHSU. This certificate is a step in the process of becoming a certified Mindful Yoga teacher. Further steps for becoming a certified Mindful Yoga teacher are outlined here.