Alexander Technique, bodywork, breathwork, chronic pain, emotional healing, emotional processing, muscular holding patterns, muscular pain, relaxation technique, sound vibration, tight muscles, yang exercise, Yin exercise
Chronic pain. So many of us, by the time we reach 50 years of age, have chronic pain in our bodies. My chronic pain pattern started when I was 16 years old, so I’ve been working on my body pain for a very long time, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Not everyone has chronic pain for the same reasons, but I’m going to talk about what I see is a very common pattern. Maybe you will find yourself in this pattern, and maybe some of the things I say will be helpful for you.
My chronic pain pattern began from what I see as 2 sources. One of them was physical, and one was emotional. I’ll talk about the physical. I was very involved with athletics when I was young. I worked very hard at the sports I was involved with, and I developed repetitive muscle patterns that gave me a muscular imbalance in my body. The muscles on the right side of my body were overdeveloped, and they threw out the balance of my entire body.
The emotional side of my pain pattern involved emotional repression from my upbringing. Instead of blooming in a natural progression, some of my emotional developed was stymied by a difficult family environment and pretty severe emotional repression.
My recovery has been over a long period of time as I’ve had to learn a lot through the hard knocks of life. But, there is nothing like direct experience to learn things deeply. What I especially want to talk about here are patterns that I see in people that contribute to their Chronic Pain Pattern.
When I was 28 years old, after much searching, trial and error, I found a form of Bodywork called The Alexander Technique. With this technique I learned to go into my body in a conscious way and connect to the habitual muscular contracting that I was doing, and learn how to release it. I have been doing this technique every day for the past 30 years, and it has worked to keep me mobile and pain free. Many people, I have noticed, work on their bodies from the external. We walk, run, do yoga, exercise classes, play sports, etc. We deal with out bodies in a Yang way, meaning we try to force change on our bodies from the external. I do things a little differently. What I do with my body I would call a Yin approach.
I lay on the floor A LOT. When I lay on the floor, I allow my body to completely relax. I get in contact with my body against the floor. What parts of my body are tight and sore? I put my attention on the pain, and follow it around. You’d be surprised how much pain moves around in your body when you put your attention on it. I also sometimes breath into the pain through my nose, and make sounds on the exhale. This can help to break up tension patterns. Sometimes, as the tension is letting go, emotions come up. I allow whatever emotions that come up to move out of me through sound. This might be grief, fear, or rage.
Laying flat on the floor is the first position I do. From there I might take a couple of hardcover books, from about 1 – 3″, and put them under my head. These help to get in touch with another level of tension patterns in my body. From there, I bring my knees up to bending position. That brings another whole level of tension patterns to connect with.
I have three other positions I do, with variations. This allows me to go deeper and deeper into my tension patterns. I also use different things under my head and neck to get different variations. With my set of tools I have been able to contact many levels of tension patterns in my body. I have been able to work through any pain that comes up in my body rather quickly.
Where does pain come from and why do we have it? I’ll answer that in my next blog. Thank you for staying tuned!