Why Physical Health Starts with a Healthy Mind

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The number one thing I repeat to my clients everyday is the following: What is happening in your body is happening in your life.

I have many clients who complain of stomach aches, shoulder pain, a pulled muscle… the list goes on. But what they don’t understand is that physical pain is normally a sign that something larger is at play. Let me explain.

When we experience physical pain, we attach a story to it. It normally goes something like this:

“I was running in the foothills with my best friend and she was running a bit faster than I normally go, so I told myself I could run at that pace as well and now my calf is really screwed up and I can’t run at all”.

It is easy to say to this person, “you need to stretch more”, “you should foam roll next time”, “why didn’t you warm up better” etc. But it takes further exploration of this person’s character, background, relationships etc to understand why this person is competitive to the point of injury. Perhaps the solution for this person should not just stretch, foam roll and warm up better but also focus on exploring their mental health and how it could be contributing towards the injury itself.

In an article by Times Magazine titled Psychotherapy Goes from Ouch to Yoga Mat, they reference studies showing:

“…not only are your mental health and mood dependent in large part on physical factors like exercise, but also unchecked stress, anxiety and depression can affect physical health, increasing blood pressure, heart disease and even risk of death” (Kornfeld 2009).

Therefore, physical pain can actually stem from unhealthy (or unchecked) mental health. Kornfeld continues to say that it was “perhaps inevitable that patients would start bringing their yoga mats into therapy”.

Yoga therapy, what I practice with my clients within my business, YoThera, is a way to combat physical pain through attention to symptoms, is what has grown from these discoveries. It focuses on the development of methods to treat the symptoms, while working toward identification of the root cause. Yoga therapy also helps clients take a more active role in self care with the therapist teaching healing yoga techniques and helping the client gain independence.

If you or a loved one is recovering from an injury and or in pain, I challenge you to expand your preconceived notions of what is causing this injury, to look past the story you’ve associated with the source of pain, and think about other possible explanations and causes.

I will repeat again what I said before which is what is happening in your body is happening in your life. Therefore, let’s expand our ideas of what causes pain. Let’s concentrate our efforts on recognition of what these root causes are, and then begin the process of long-term recovery and healing.

References:

Kornfeld, A. B. (2009, April 14). Psychotherapy Goes from Couch to Yoga Mat. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1891271,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner