From Pain to Yoga: How Injury Led LPS to Yoga & Advanced Teacher Training

In the fall of 2017, Laura Patterson-Santore, studio owner and operator, attended the Therapeutic Yoga for Pain Workshop at the renowned Asheville Yoga Center (AYC) in North Carolina. Here she sits down with fellow instructor Brynn Cunningham to tell us how pain and injury led her to yoga, about the AYC training and information concerning LPS Strength & Meditation's current Yoga for Pain Series. 

BC: The workshop was led by three wellness professionals: a pain management researcher/ Ph.D., an acupuncturist/yoga instructor and a physical therapist/yoga instructor. Could you tell us how their combined expertise added to your educational experience?

LPS: The three professionals facilitating the workshop explained the physical and neurological understanding of pain as well as the efforts of the ancient healing arts of Traditional Chinese Medicine and yoga along with modern physical therapy to help create a comprehensive understanding of how mindful movement, visualization and acupressure (and acupuncture) can work together to help alleviate physical symptoms of pain while strengthening the body beyond what was thought possible by the student. 

BC: What were your top three take-aways from the workshop? 

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LPS: 1. That visualizing movement along with the breath - while remaining still - can help students feel safe while reconditioning the brain and the body to let go of physical pain and trauma.

2. That pain is strongly linked to trauma memory and muscle memory - that the mind/body connection holds the key to our understanding of pain and our daily perceptions of the physical and mental self.

3. That it is enough to just breathe - we don't have to twist and stand on our heads to experience the benefits of mindful awareness of our bodies and our minds.

BC: Tell us how your personal experiences with yoga have healed pain in your own body.

LPS: I have experienced three distinct ligament replacements in both of my knees along with a reconstruction of my right ankle. When these surgeries ended my athletic aspirations, I continued to work out in the gym with free weights and impact cardio training.  I literally came to yoga a hobbled mess at age 23 - aching as a climbed the stairs to my third-floor city apartment.  Once I began a regular yoga practice, there was no turning back - I became stronger with a greater overall range of motion in my total body.  I still have the occasional ache from the trauma and deficiencies of the injuries, but I live relatively pain free and maintain a very active lifestyle that would not be possible without a regular practice that includes both active, strengthening vinyasa and passive, yin and restorative styles.   

BC: The LPS studio Pain Series has been popular! What feedback have you received from clients?

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LPS: The positive response has truly been overwhelming, not to mention humbling!  The genuine benefit that people have experienced with a regular bi-weekly practice has led to increased range of motion, decreased pain and liberation from pain as an identity.  Having people express joy and gratitude for regaining an improved lifestyle and a new perspective on life (and yoga) is truly amazing!

BC: What other classes or services would be suitable for clients who enjoy and benefit from the Pain Series?

LPS: I cannot emphasize enough the need for balance in a regular yoga practice or sport-specific training.  If you are attracted to and frequent an active class (Vinyasa Flow, Barre, etc), you must create time in your schedule for Yin and Restorative.  For those with chronic pain, stress and anxiety, I highly recommend Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Therapeutic Chair Yoga and other Gentle / Pain Specific Yoga classes on our regular schedule. Simply reducing stress and anxiety can have a significant impact on how the body perceives pain and responds to it, while cultivating a mindful movement appropriate for your body that strengthens, increases range of motion, and creates space within the joints can help reduce inflammation and pressure on the joints, fostering a cumulative effect unlike any other exercise.  I also highly recommend exploring acupuncture as a regular complement to the practice as well as targeted focus massage and resistance release work. 

Upcoming Pain Series

Yoga for Chronic Pain & Arthritis: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, March 29

Yoga for Neck, Shoulder & Back Pain: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, April 12

Yoga for Hips, Legs & Feet: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, April 26

Yoga for Hip & Knee Pain: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, May 10

Yoga for Chronic Pain & Arthritis: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Thursday, May 24

Regular class passes apply/$12 drop-in/$40 Series Pass

Ages 65 and above: $7/class or $20/Series Pass

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