Yoga For Chronic Pain | Yoga With Adriene

– Hi, everyone. Welcome to Yoga With Adriene, I’m Adriene and this is Benji, and today we have yoga for chronic pain. This is a big request, I hope you enjoy it. If you can, bring a little blanket or a towel to practice today and, if you like, you can do a good portion of this practice in a chair or on the edge of your couch. So, hop into something comfy, and let’s get started. (upbeat music) Alrighty, my friends, let’s begin lying down on the ground. If lying down on the ground is not suitable for you today, you can begin this practice in a chair or even seated on the edge of your couch. So come into your first position and be gentle with yourself even as we get set up.

Right, so this intention that we’re gonna be gentle with ourselves, that we’re gonna be kind. And right away as you get settled into your first position here, see if you can relax through the legs and relax through the arms in particular. So, your limbs immediately get the invitation to relax. And I’ll invite you to take a deep breath in through your nose. And as you exhale, go ahead and breathe out through the mouth. Good, soften your gaze gently down past your nose or close your eyes here and allow the sound of my voice to guide you. Again, I’ll invite us together to breathe in through the nose deeply. And exhale out through the mouth completely, really emptying out all the air. And one more time, just like that. Big inhale in through the nose. And exhaling out through the mouth. Great, now with the eyes closed or your gaze nice and soft, just kind of drawing our intention inward, our attention inward. Just take a moment to notice how you feel. And, again, remember to be gentle. If you’re not feeling great, that’s alright.

That’s why we’re here, to tend to it, to explore lovingly the tools of yoga and see if they can assist us, support us on our journey toward healing and feeling better. Continue to gently deepen your breath as you just take a moment here to notice how you feel today, scanning the body perhaps. Starting the soles of the feet perhaps and running up through the center channel. Using that guideline if it suits you, guiding your awareness all the way up to the crown of your head, and if not, just in your own way taking stock, dropping in. Then ever so slightly, lift the corners of the mouth. Give thanks for your body. Let go of any expectations of this practice and what it might serve up and just choose to reside in the breath first.

Knowing that if you’re breathing with more loving awareness, you’re doing it right, you’re doing a good job. Inviting the brain and the body to work together through the breath, the thread of the breath. Gently bring your left hand to your heart and your right hand to your low belly. Use the placement of the hand on the belly and the hand on the heart to invite a deeper breath in. Perhaps a more diaphragmatic breath in. So, see if you can feel the rise of your hands as you breathe in. Good, and see if you can notice the gentle fall of the palms down as you breathe out. Notice where your thoughts go and just experiment with this for a moment or two on your own. The rise and the fall of the breath.

The hands catching a bit of a wave here as you breathe in and then falling as you breathe out.

Good, nice, and easy. Gently open your eyes. We’re gonna bring one knee up ever so gently. Bring your foot to the ground and then the other knee up ever so gently, bring your foot to the ground. If you’re in a chair on the couch, you can just sit up nice and tall, and then if you’re on the ground, we’re gonna come into a fetal position feeling the spine round here. And then, nice and slow, again, be gentle, we’re gonna press all the way up to seated and come through to all fours. Again, if you’re in the chair, stick with the diaphragmatic breathing here. If you are able to come to all fours, get the wrists underneath the shoulders, knees directly underneath the hips.

Inhale, bump the hips to the left as you turn to look past your right shoulder and then come back to the center. Inhale, bump the hips to the right as you turn to gently look past your left shoulder.

Excellent, come back to the center. Spread the fingertips evenly. You can use your blanket here to pad the body, pad the knees, pad the hands even if you like and if you’re in a chair, go ahead and bring your hands to the tops of the thighs. Together we’re gonna find a little gentle spinal flexion. So on the ground, we’ll drop the belly towards the earth, open the chest. In the chair, you’ll open the heart, find that long, puppy belly. Everyone, inhale, look up. Exhale, chin to chest. Navel draws back towards the spine. If you’re on the ground, really press into the earth.

Creating space in the back body. Inhale, drop the belly, open the chest. If you’re in the chair, look up, drop the shoulders down.

And then exhale, rounding through, really drawing your navel up towards the spine or back to the spine. One more time, inhale nice and slow, opening the heart, lifting the gaze up. Exhale, rounding through, chin to chest. Navel back. Good. Having a nice, neutral spine now, nice and easy, we’re gonna slowly, slowly make our way up. So, walk the palms forward if you’re on the ground. Curl your toes under, soft bend in the elbows, generous bend in the knees, and we’re gonna peel the tailbone up to Downward Facing Dog. If this is not suitable for you today, you can just make your way to standing using your breath to guide you, staying focused on the breath here for the whole duration of our practice. Take a couple of breaths.

If you’re in Downward Dog, maybe pedal the knees, pedal the feet. And then we’ll slowly walk the feet to the center of the mat. Come into a nice, wide stance. You have nice stability here. And we’ll come into a Forward Fold. If you’re in the chair, you can gently drape your belly over the tops of the thighs, bringing your head between the knees here. Breathing deep. See if you can breathe laterally. Think about breathing into all four sides of your torso. Feeling the lungs expand. The rib cage gets wider as you breathe in. And, of course, softens as you breathe out. As you’re ready, slowly begin to roll up to standing. Take your time here, listen to the sound of your breath. So as you stand up nice and tall, see if you can really feel your feet. I know that is a bit of an interesting cue, but just bring awareness to the feet and just notice if the toes are pointing out or pointing in or if you’re carrying a little bit of weight in the inner arches or the outer edges. Just notice. And if you are in the chair you can do the same thing.

Just see if you can spread more awareness through all four corners of the feet, nice and even. (chuckles) Benji’s getting cozy. And then, again, starting from the feet, we’ll begin to lovingly scan the body. Just drawing some loving awareness from the soles of the feet all the way up to the crown. Got a creaky, old floor up in here. And then see if you can lift your sternum as you continue to gently deepen your breath. Try to give the thinking mind a break, and focus on the sound of your breath. Good, on your next inhale, spread your fingers gently and reach up

towards the sky. You can do this in the chair or standing. Big stretch all the way up, up, up. And think about really reaching from your waistline, so not just the arms reaching up, but reaching all the way up and out of the waistline. If the shoulders are kind of clenched up here, give a nice, wide stance between the palms. Imagine maybe you’re holding a big beach ball up and overhead so your shoulder blades can dropdown.

If this is much too much, you can send the fingertips out in front. So we’re here or we’re here. And wherever you are, you’re gonna take the right hand and grab the left wrist for a side body stretch. Take a deep breath in, exhale gently tilt to the right and if your hands are out in front, you can gently twist to the right. So we’re here. Or we’re here, feet are grounded and we’re inhaling lots of love in. You got this. Exhale, lots of love out. And I know this can be hard for many of us, so you’re not alone. Breathe deep. Be kind to your body. Stick with it. And then on your next inhale, bring it back to the center. Let’s give the arms a full rest in between. Let them come to your sides or rest gently on the thighs. Inhale, a nice, cleansing breath in through the nose.

And exhale, take it. Exhale, nice, cleansing breath out through the mouth. So honoring the body where it is today, right? Through this practice of honoring and showing up for ourselves as we are regularly, we may or may not, but we have an opportunity to really re-pattern to heal or at least tend to the situation in a more loving, non-toxic manner, right? So the possibilities, to me, in my opinion, are endless.

But, of course, it does require us to just lovingly acknowledge what’s going on with the body. Which I know can be frustrating for people with chronic pain, right? Maybe you don’t feel like everyone understands. I got your back. Here we go. Inhale, fingertips up again either halfway or all the way up. Take a second here to just assess lovingly. How’s it going? Can I create a little more space here? Return to your breath. Feet are grounded. Maybe experiment with that inner smile, lifting the corners of the mouth just a bit. And then, when you’re ready, the left hand’s gonna grab the right wrist this time either all the way up on overhead or halfway, and then we’re gonna slowly take it to the left side. So side body stretch. If you’re halfway, you’re gonna get more of a lat stretch, upper back body, but still be really good. Keep your heels grounded here, everyone. Inhale. Exhale. One more breath. Stick with it.

You got this. Hug the low ribs in. Inhale and exhale. Awesome, slowly release. Bring it all back to the center. Nice, cleansing breath here. Come on, take it, inhale. And exhale, let something go. Awesome work. Okay, so if you’re standing, go ahead and bring the hands to the waistline.

If you’re seated, you can do this Warrior II in your chair. We’re gonna slowly take it to the right first by bringing the right foot, stepping the right toes out. Then we’re gonna bend the right knee and then you’re gonna step back with the left leg at your comfort level, right? So it can be a small Warrior today. There’s an option to do this on the chair by bringing the right hamstring to be supported by the seat of your chair. Everyone, make sure your back toes are turned in. And once you get here, let’s bring our awareness to the feet and draw a little energy up from the feet to find length in the spine. If you feel a little trembly here, little warmth, a little heat, that’s okay.

If you feel any pain, and you need to back up out of the pose, listen to your body, always. Head over heart, heart over the pelvis. Maybe you stay here, hands on the waist or gently resting on thighs, breathing deep, strong legs. Or perhaps we experiment with sending the arms out, Virabhadrasana II, pulling the pinkies back to open up through the chest. Inhale in, lengthen through the crown, long neck. Exhale, relax your shoulders. You got this. One more breath. You got it. Inhale in. Slow exhale, you got this. Sweet, slowly straighten the front leg, bring the hands back to the waistline and we’re gonna bring it all back to the center.

Move at a nice, slow pace that’s good for you. Either back to standing or back to seated in your chair. Cleansing breath. Inhale lots of love in. Exhale, let something go. Breathe out through your mouth. Good, second side. You’re gonna take the left foot around this time, plant it firmly, toes pointing out. Then step the right foot back, toes back. The back foot needs to be pivoted in, dialed in, right? So that everything can dial in including the hip, right? If the toes are turned out, the hip’s gonna be unstable here basically. So turn those toes in. If you’re in the chair, your left hamstring is supported by the seat of your chair. Everyone, bend your front knee. Notice how this side may feel a little different. Hands-on the waistline is nice and low to start. Press into the outer edge of your back foot.

Lengthen through the spine. And here we go. If it’s feeling right in your body today, send the arms out long. We’re not gonna be here long, so meet your appropriate edge. Pull the pinkies back, bend that front knee, Lengthen tailbone down. Find that inner smile. Here we go, let’s breathe together. Inhale in through the nose. Exhale out through the nose or mouth, either one is fine today. Again, inhale in through the nose. And exhale out through the nose or mouth. Good, slowly bring it back to the center. Hands come to the waistline. Seated or standing, you got this. Inhale in. And exhale, relax the shoulders, empty it out. Good, awesome work. On your next inhale, bring the shoulders forward, up and back towards the ears, and then we’re just gonna take ’em for a couple of loops here. Inhale to lift. Exhale to drop. Inhale to lift. Exhale to drop.

One more time, inhale to lift.

Exhale to drop. Alright, stay grounded through your feet. We’re gonna interlace the fingertips behind the small of your back here. Keep your wrists squared here. You keep it nice and gentle. So rather than bring it together, of course, unless you want to do that. If you’re in the chair, you can also experiment with clasping the opposite elbow with the opposite hand. And really gentle chest opener here, nice and easy. Inhale, open the chest. Exhale, relax the shoulders down. If you wanna find soft, easy movement in the head or neck here, it might feel nice. Awesome, then we’ll release. Once again, cleansing breath. Inhale in. Nice, slow exhale. Soothing, calming the nervous system. Excellent. Alright, from here we’re gonna grab our blanket and if you have a wall that you can bring the legs up to while you’re doing this video, then we’ll do that together. Otherwise, we can kind of figure it out just in the middle of the room wherever you are, and then you can take it to the wall on your own later.

So we’re gonna transition down now for legs up the wall. So take your time getting down on the ground. We’re gonna grab our blankets for this if you have one. And again, if you’re not really set up to do legs up the wall at this exact moment, maybe you just come into a comfortable seat, breathe deeply and observe so that then you can do this on your own in another area of your home. So, we’ll take the blanket or a bath towel works just fine. You just make sure it’s nice and even so that it can support your low back in a nice, even way. In a way that feels good. And then I’m gonna bring it up here to the wall, excuse me, buddy. Sorry buddy, aw. No animals were harmed in the making of this video. So, I’m gonna bring it with a little bit of space between the wall and the blanket. You can also do this in the middle of the room and get your legs up, but it just depends on how your body’s feeling.

Maybe you’re not quite in the right place right now where you wanna hold your legs in midair. You could give it a try, certainly, if it felt right. So, I also have a whole video just on legs up the wall. So you can check that out on YouTube. Here we go. I’m gonna come all the way up to the wall. This is the most difficult part is kind of getting in position. But I’m gonna move slowly and gently and I’m gonna get it to where my blanket or towel is supporting my low back. I allow my tailbone to spill off the blanket or towel and my legs, of course, go up. Notice how my knees are bent. I’m not necessarily needing to straighten my legs to reap the benefits of this posture. So the knees can be bent as generously as they need to. Once you feel like you feel supported in your low back, you can start to play with straightening the legs, but, again, just feel it out.

Alright, then the hands can go Texas T nice and wide or palms can rest gently on the belly or the ribcage. Alright, if you’re observing, you can soften your gaze now and start to breathe deeply. If you’re in the posture, close your eyes, and return to your breath. Soften the skin or the face, everyone relaxes your jaw. See if you can make your inhalations longer. See if you can make your exhalations longer. Smoother. When practicing legs up the wall, if it begins to feel like it’s a little too much, you’re losing a blood flow or a little tingly can be a little intense at first. Listen to your body which I know you’re good at, but also respond.

You might bring the soles of the feet together down for a little Cobbler’s variation here. And then, as you’re ready, you can send the legs back up. So this is a good thing to do before bed when the body, you can already tell, maybe struggling to relax. This could be a good thing to do after traveling of any kind. Let’s take a couple more breaths here to observe the breath. Slow everything down. Activating the healing properties, the self-healing properties. That we possess. To come out of legs up the wall, you’ll move nice and slow. First bending the knees. And then slowly rocking to one side, any side. You can stay in legs up the wall if you like. If you’re ready to come up to a nice seat, go ahead and do so.

You can sit up on your blanket. If you’re on the chair, smile, life is good. We’ll bring the palms together at the heart center. Take one more big breath in. Exhale to relax the shoulders down. Close your eyes. Give thanks for this time that you’ve carved out for yourself. I thank you for joining me, for trusting me, for sharing your practice and your journey with me and with Benji.

Bookmark this video. See if you can maybe put it on your calendar to do regularly so that you can really start to notice the difference. A regular daily practice I think yields more results than just kind of a once in a while kind of remedy. Alright, thanks again. As always, continue to make it your own and find what feels good. You’re doing great. Namaste. (upbeat music).

As found on YouTube



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