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  • Writer's picturePainacea Team

Need for Yoga in Pain

Updated: Jul 7, 2021


Chronic pain isn’t merely about the physical pain but it triggers the nervous system which in exchange traverses and gives negative influences to mind, other muscular tensions, disturbances in breathing and even energy levels of the person. When all of it is affected in return a person faces other impacts emotional, social and spiritual components. Yoga unlike other physical exercises has an holistic approach and is covering the physical, mental and even the energy part of development of a person.

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Some pains are acute and chronic. It gets beyond the reach and keeps growing and travelling from one part to another. While in pain a person usually just doesn’t experience physical pain, but also suffers socially and mentally.

Besides that physically there are many anatomical, chemical and even genetic alterations happening. It takes a bent of disease by making a particular repetitive pattern.

All this knowingly and unknowingly creates chaos in a person's life and it is affecting its interpersonal relationships with people/family around them as well which sometimes starts creating emotional pain. We see how yoga can help with these issues in this article.

Yoga And Pain Relations:

IASP international association for the study of pain defines pain as

“An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage”

The above clearly states that there's an acceptance that pain is not just physical but also emotional. They also add that pain is very subjective and if the pain hasn't damaged tissue or may not be (it may be pathophysiological or psychological as well).

Inside the body:

Pain inculcates many changes in the body which causes disease if it is chronic. Yoga has multiple dimensions and is a very liberal study to be accepted by all in one or the other sense.

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One of the very well known prospects is the Asanas. Asanas are one of the limbs of Raja yoga which has been widely taught in today's time.

According to hatha yoga pradipika definition of asana is.

अथ आसनम

हठस्य परथमाङ्गत्वादासनं पूर्वमुछ्यते |

कुर्यात्तदासनं सथैर्यमारोग्यं छाङ्ग-लाघवम || १७ ||

“Prior to everything, asana is spoken of as the first part of hatha yoga. Having done asana one gets steadiness of body and mind; diseaselessness & lightness (flexibility) of the limbs.”

The asanas were first scripted in this text and the definition itself says a lot. Once the body is more steady (in exchange the mind is as well) and the flexibility increases , strength increases and mobility increases the pain has to be reduced first hand.

But, how will it be different from other physical exercises/treatments ? yoga when done coupling it with breathing techniques specified in the texts and with relaxation & mindfulness techniques they relax the extra tensions caused in the muscles relieving pain. Besides that it also works on the endocrine system and nerve plexus. Studies done shows reduced cortisol levels further reducing the stress and stress related pains.

Mind and Feelings:

As we have discussed there's something for everyone in yoga and for mind related pains and related emotional issues we have pranayama. As the name says pranayama comes from the word ‘Prana’ the vital force. Pranayama corrects the flow of this vital force which is said is responsible for coordination for the other major body systems. Thus prana/ vital force is the main according to yoga to correct the system.

चले वाते चलं चित्तं निश्चले निश्चलं भवेत् ।

योगी स्थाणुत्वम् आप्नोति ततो वायुं निरोधयेत् ॥२॥

chale vate chalam chittam nischale nischalam bhavet

yogi sthanutvam apnoti tato vayum nirodhayet ||2||

(Hatha yoga pradipika 2-2.)

When prana move, chitta(the mental force) moves. When prana is without movement, chitta is without movement. Thus, if we have to steady the mind we have to steady the prana which is done by pranayamas.

The mind because of pain is disturbed the vayu is moving constantly making the mind more & more restless and creating mental pain in return. Paranayams will help to stabilize the mind thus, reducing the stress and managing the emotions well.


When a person is in pain the stress increases and with that one may even start suffering with anxiety and depression and related issues. This may affect the relations with the society and family. One who is in pain may feel guilty of being dependent on others and this may cause distress and can even lead to aggression.

Yogic concepts like Ahimsa(non- violence) with others, oneself and even in one's thoughts will help an individual to cope with aggression. Likewise there are multiple things in Ashtanga yoga written in yog sutra form which is practically to be done just like the aspect of asana and pranayama and these philosophical attributes of yoga help a person to improve the interpersonal relationship with people around and will also increase the acceptance power and resilience with constant practice. This will deal with further increasing the psychosomatic pain.


We have seen that merely pain has many dimensions which devastate us but so does yoga have many dimensions which will help us to treat or manage those dimensions and aid us. Yoga will Succour us to heal the pain slowly from within by correcting the direction of vital force and manages are emotions so that we can have the will to heal the pain as well.


Swami Muktibodhananda, Hatha yoga Pradipika, 1985, 67,150


Swami Muktibodhananda, Hatha yoga Pradipika, 1985, 67,150

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