My student Shirley K: What keeps you coming back?
I so enjoy the quiet, calming guidance through various moves as well as relaxation. It is good to challenge myself a little in a group situation & it is wonderful sharing the company and support of the other participants.
Thank you so much for giving so much of your knowledge and time to help us!
2. Or is this you ? - Your pain is really long term pain: Come to Gentle Yoga for Persistent Pain
You need safe and sensitive tools to help you manage your condition. These specialised classes help people who have been in pain for a lengthy period because they retrain the brain's pain response through somatic (body) and cognitive (mind) practices. Research shows that the brain can change due to its capacity for neuroplasticity - good news for long term pain sufferers!
Yoga has been shown to reduce stress (& cortisol levels), depression, PTSD symptoms, chronic pain and insomnia. I have specialised training in Yoga for Pain and I can help you.
Book in for an initial private consultation for assessment. Then either group classes or private classes may suit your personal wellbeing. For some people, just a couple of private classes create a significant change. It's very individual of course.
Venue: vitalyoga studio. Term 2 dates: 23rd April - 5th July. No class on 28th May.
Tuesday evenings 5.45pm - 7.00pm Gentle Yoga for Persistent Pain group class. Fee: $20 per week, paid upfront for the term. Or choose private sessions at times to suit. You must complete the private assessment class first.
Fees: Initial assessment $120. Allow 1.5 hours. Group classes: Book in for the Term of 9 weeks $180
My chronic illness journey started many years ago, I suffered chronic migraines and endometriosis since I was 16, however in 2015, my endometriosis deteriorated along with my congenital heart defect ( worsened by my last pregnancy). I had to undergo many surgeries in a small amount of time. In a span of a few years I was diagnosed with an auto Immune disease, chronic pain manifesting in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis and finally chronic migraines turning into vertisbular disease. Suffice to say I was struggling to understand "why me"? Along with many other chronic pain suffers I fell into depression and my anxiety worsened. I suffered anxiety attacks and bouts of depression. I tried many different psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors and specialists. However everything was just getting worse. Before I knew it I had an impressive medication collection but I still felt awful. One thing I learnt through chronic pain workshops is mental health and chronic pain are intricately intertwined. Yes I had demons. But every time I tried to deal with these with my psychologists I just couldn't get past them.
I had been practising yoga and mediatation for many years, and had been part of the yoga community for a long time. I stumbled across a "yoga for persistent pain" class on Facebook by Pam Bleakley. I knew yoga had many styles that could help me depending on what my body needed so I decided to sign up for a class.
I found the first few terms helpful for my pain and understanding how to use asana to help manage my fibromyalgia. Even if I turned up exhausted. Pam was mindful in telling each one of us to get into an individual pose we needed. Usually me lying down and breathing as I would have been rushing from work and school pick up. As the terms moved on, Pam introduced a method called iRest. She described this method used for PTSD sufferers who were also dealing with chronic pain. The techniques used resonated with me. It wasnt intrusive, there was very little talking, mainly introspective methods. Asking me what I felt on the inside, where did the majority of the pain sit and what it felt like, what colour was it. I liked visualising my pain this way. What did it feel like if I removed this from my body and, quietly observed it outside my body? How did it feel like if I put it back in. I repeated this. Oh and so many breathing techniques. I have learnt so many. It is amazing how many techniques u can use to wake up, destress at work, slow down, get ready for bed. I use them all every day. It takes a while but practice makes perfect. Today lying down on my mat, after a horrendous migraine I noticed my breathing was so shallow and jagged. I wouldn't have realised this unless I put effort into stopping and taking time out to do something as simple as breathing.
hese methods matured over time and I began to gain an understanding of my demons and my pain. What was holding me back. The most amazing part of this is everything I felt with was private, I never explained them in detail. "when I was 7 this happened etc"... But I will be honest, it was hard. There were ups and downs, like with any personal journey and growth, I struggled but I dealt with those demons and Pam guided me and never asked me the intricate details of what they were. And that is what shocked me. I gained so much without describing my past. I found the more I tackled those hidden demons the better I was able to deal with my fibromyalgia pain. There was one session I was able to breathe through a pain spot visualising it dissapearing so quickly. This is very rare for me. But I was so surprised it worked so quickly. It was months into my iRest therapy but it still made me take pause and wonder how powerful a human mind is.
What have I gained out of iRest and meditation?
I have gained a safe space, a place I can go to when I am in pain physically and mentally that is personal to me. It is beautiful and calm. I can go to a place that distracts me from the pain. It may not get rid of all the pain but it is a safe haven. A place I never had. I have strategy I never had before.
Breathing, Yes we all can breathe, but there are so many ways we can control our breathe to control our pain. I'm still learning this, and I'm eager to continue to help my body control pain through my breath.
Journaling, I was always a big journalling girl. Ever since I was young. It was an escape for me. So it wasn't a big thing to pick up again. But it was a big help too. Sometimes I would come home after a session and fill up pages of words. Whether they made sense didn't matter. It was just a brain dump! It felt good.
Boundaries, I have courage to set clear boundaries. Something I never did before. It took a long time to accept I need to be number one. As a mother and a wife. Putting yourself first is one of the hardest things I have done. But I have finally accepted this is what I have to do. Boundaries with people also. This was hard as I'm a yes girl. I Had to stop that. It was making me more sick. The days of supergirl are over!
I am getting there slowly through iRest and Pam's help. Again, it is not easy and it has taken time. But for me it's worth it. My mind is more at ease. This has been an important therapy for me. And I am grateful I found Pam to guide me and hopefully I will continue to get stronger week by week.
From student Sue D : I love the way yoga energises me and makes me feel grateful for what I’m able to achieve. Regular attendance puts “normality” into my life and gives me the confidence to try most things in the non-threatening environment you provide. Yoga has given me more stability, balance and flexibility which improves my walking. It has improved my core strength and prevented me getting abdominal hernias. The breathing techniques are wonderful and I find myself using them in moments of stress. I always leave the class feeling great and much more relaxed than when I arrived.
The women in the class are very friendly and I feel accepted by the group. Yoga also helps me to remain positive. I feel very fortunate to have been accepted into your class Pam. Thankyou.
I am feeling positive, more flexible and also more challenged and productive with a variety of breaths and movements that work all areas of the body and mind, while also appreciating Pam's options to modify, slow or even cease movements when my pain is prohibitive. The small class-size and warm studio really do allow me to focus better, ask questions and be informed too. I feel that I am becoming kinder to myself.