227: Is Pain During Yoga Okay? with Neil Pearson
As yoga teachers, we may have guided students to avoid all movements that cause any amount of pain, particularly for students who may be dealing with injuries or issues in their bodies. However, is this necessary and is pain always a bad thing? Neil Pearson sheds light on what pain science has to say about pain, and how to approach pain in yoga.
Neil Pearson is a physiotherapist, yoga therapist, educator and author. He is also the Founder of Pain Care Aware, a yoga mentorship program that focuses on a pain-informed approach to teaching yoga, and Pain Care U, which offers practical, effective, non-pharmacological pain care for people living in pain. Additionally, Neil provides education to PTs, MDs, and yoga therapists, as well as serves as a consultant to Canada’s largest rehab clinic group and pain advocacy groups. He focuses on teaching about pain science, the lived experience of pain, and the intersection of pain science and yoga, with the goal of helping people living in pain and assisting others with the same desire to serve.
Neil answers some common questions around pain during yoga, including whether sharp pain is okay, how and when we can know that it is safe to explore the edges of pain, and if pain is really just all in our heads. If you are experiencing pain, or have students with pain, this is a powerful interview to listen to.
[7:54] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Neil Pearson.
[9:19] Neil talks about the idea that pain is a taboo topic.
[10:59] What is the work that Neil does and who does he do it for?
[12:24] How did Neil start integrating pain science into his work?
[17:19] What should yoga teachers do for people who are feeling pain?
“What we want to do is recognize that we have options.” ~ Neil Pearson
[22:56] Many times in yoga classes, we encourage students not to do things that cause pain. What are Neil’s thoughts on that?
“Just because we have thoughts about pain, we have beliefs about pain, but we never question them, we never get curious about them.” ~ Neil Pearson
[32:05] Neil talks more about the common belief that discomfort is okay, but sharp pain is not okay.
[34:24] Shannon and Neil discuss how determining causes of pain can be frustrating because it is influenced by many factors and is very changeable.
“We have these beliefs about pain and those beliefs lead us to do certain behaviors. And it’s also our society and our health care system [which have] beliefs about pain.” ~ Neil Pearson
[38:38] Neil and Shannon discuss her experience recovering from a herniated disc recently, and how each person is an expert in their pain.
[44:18] As yoga teachers, how can we know if pain is caused by tissue damage? Neil explains the buffer between pain and damage, and how we can tap into that.
“Pain is a complex, multi faceted thing. It’s not just about tissue damage there are other things involved in it.” ~ Neil Pearson
[46:23] Neil shares a bit more about movement guidelines, and how we can pay attention to four alarm systems in our bodies to know if a movement is safe.
[50:50] Neil talks about his work teaching people about pain science and the new training for yoga teachers around pain.
[53:48] Neil shares his hope that this training will help yoga teachers give people a different lived experience around pain.
“It’s okay to provoke the symptoms if you feel at the end that the benefits of what you did outweigh the consequences.” ~ Neil Pearson
- Is Pain OK in Yoga? with Neil Pearson Live Video on YouTube
- Pain Care Aware Level 1 (Discount code for 15% off: CONNECTEDPCA15)
Discount code valid until August 31, 2021
- Pain Care Aware
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- The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast Episode 226: Questions to Ask Someone in Pain with Shelly Prosko
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