‘No pain, no gain’. This saying crops up in a fitness class innumerously either coming from the instructor or your mind screaming out to you, asking to go further down in a posture. But a body is a very complex unit and the muscles, neurons and bones would like to adjust the body in the most comfortable posture possible. This will most likely give way to a distorted posture leading to pain and discomfort. But do we do to tackle that pain? Do you correct your posture? Would you rectify yourself? The answer is No. Why? Because no pain no gain! This is a wrong practice. Always honour your body and its suggestions to you. Comprehending the language of body is a quality of a refined yogi.
The will to override
Modern philosophy demands a stronger mind set and a horse that finishes the race even in an injured state. But yoga is about acceptance. When you accept yourself and respect your body, a deep connect starts to harbour between mind, body and soul. Stopping and relaxing in a Yoga Class is not about shame as yoga is not a challenge fulfilled but ego overridden. Ego is the biggest obstacle in development and enemy of success. If you do not listen to the language of your body, you are befriending injury, joint aches, numbness, pinched nerves, distorted posture and much more.
To avoid such injuries and reach your goals you have to develop self-honouring awareness in your body.
Bond between pain and nervous system
Pain and nervous system or emotions and mind have a brotherly relationship. They foster each other and survive on the instincts of the other. When pain is overlooked in a posture, this experience is noted by the nervous system instantly as hurt threat and discomfort. Furthermore the subconscious mind registers and stores it as a bad experience. Next time when you move in that posture, the mind will send signals to the body of threat & pain before hand, which will lead to the feeling of fear of performing that posture or in some extreme case skipping the practice completely.
One might not even consciously be aware of this fear and miss out on classes due to unjustifiable reasons like head ache, lethargy or by giving priority to some other work at the moment.
Your nerves do the talking
While sensitive to stretches, nerves are not robust even to restrain the stretch developed in an asana. They depend upon the tissues and muscles for the restrain a stretch, if at all. A 10 to 15% stretch is accommodated by tissues and a further 10 to 15% stretch is accommodated by the nerve fibres. After drinking maximum stretch, the nerves start to signal the body to stop and stay. When we over look these signals, numbness, sensitivity and tingling sensation occurs in the body, which further leads to motor deficits.
Mindful awareness of the sensations and signals must be ensured if one is seeking a safe and more productive approach in yoga.
Cultivation of patience, regularity, caution is urgently required and a missing element in today’s practice of yoga. While an experienced yoga instructor is a catalyst in reaching yogic goals, personal responsibility is a must. Never forget that you are the final arbiter of a posture being performed, whether you carry further or relax and rest. One yardstick to measure your approach could be, to check if you are fine after a yoga session even after 24 hours of practice.
Last but not the least, never forget to keep into account the contra-indications of every posture, they are there for a reason.