Mindfulness Meditation – A Pill Free Pain Reliever

A study has proven mindfulness meditation to be a pill free pain reliever. The study was published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, and team leader Fadel Zeidan states “our finding could be important for the millions of chronic pain sufferers who are seeking a fast-acting, non-opiate-based therapy to alleviate their pain”.

In the study, 78 healthy and pain free volunteers were divided into four groups with pain being induced by using a thermal probe to heat a small area of the skin to 49 degrees. The four groups consisted of meditation plus naloxone; non-meditation plus naloxone; meditation plus saline placebo; and non-meditation plus saline placebo. Participants then rated their pain on a sliding scale.

The results showed that pain ratings were reduced by 24% in the meditation group that received the naloxone, proving that even when the body’s opioid receptors were blocked, meditation was still able to reduce pain. In the meditation group that received the placebo, pain was also reduced by 21%.

Both non-meditation groups reported increases in pain regardless of whether they received the naloxone or the placebo.

“This study adds to the growing body of evidence that something unique is happening with how meditation reduces pain. These findings are especially significant to those who have built up a tolerance to opiate-based drugs and are looking for a non-addictive way to reduce their pain.” said Zeidan.

Top Ten Yoga Positions for Beginners

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, RelaxingRecords has got a meditation playlist for you. But if you are a beginner, you may want to read on for our top ten simple yet effective yoga poses. Use this hour long Zen meditation video to help you with your poses.

1.Cobblers Pose

cobbler-pose

Benefits:

  • Stretches the inner thighs, groins and knees
  • Improves circulation
  • Stimulates abdominal organs, ovaries, prostate gland and bladder
  • Improves digestive circulation.
  • Helps reduces menstrual discomfort
  • Soothes sciatica pain
  • Stimulates in your abdominal organs, bladder, kidneys and ovaries.

Method:

For the Cobbler’s pose (also known as the Bound Angle Pose or it’s Sanskrit ‘Baddha Konasana’), you will need to begin in the sitting position with your legs outstretched to the front. Bring in your heels closer to the pelvis by bending knees sideways. The soles of your feet should be pressing against each other, and your heels pressing into the rear pelvis.

Your pelvis should be parallel to the floor, and shoulder blades in a straight line with your back. Remain in this position for 1-5 minutes, and bring your legs gently back to the original position while inhaling.

2.Downward Facing Dog

downward-facing-dog-1

Benefits:

  • Relieves stress and mild depression
  • Energizes the body
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

Method:

For the Downward Dog pose (Sanskrit name ‘Adho Mukha Svanasana’) you will need to begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor, pushing your pelvis gently towards the ceiling. Begin to straighten your legs slowly, making sure you don;t lock your knees, bringing your body into the shape of an A.

Press the floor away from you, making sure you don’t move your feet any closer to your hands – keeping the extension of your whole body. To release – exhale as you gently bend your knees and go back onto your hands and knees.

3.Warrior Pose

Warrior1

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the legs and ankles
  • Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders, legs and ankles
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Increases stamina
  • Relieves backaches, especially through second trimester of pregnancy
  • Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica

Method:

There are three variations of the Warrior pose (Sanskrit name ‘Virabhadra’), but we will just focus on the first version. For this pose, you will need to start standing. Step your left foot towards the back of the mat, pushing the heel to the floor and turning your toes out slightly. Begin to bend the right knee over your ankle to a lunge pose – you may need to widen your stance for stability. Ensure your hips are pointing forward.

Bring your arms up over your head whilst inhaling, and touch your palms over your head. Hold this position, then exhale as you release your arms, and bring your legs together to an upright position.

4. Tree Pose

Vrksasana

Benefits:

  • Improves balance and stability in the legs
  • Focuses the mind
  • Strengthens the ligaments and tendon of the feet
  • Strengthens and tones the entire standing leg
  • Improves pelvic stability
  • Strengthen the bones of the hips and legs
  • Builds self-confidence and esteem

Method:

For the Tree pose (Sanskrit name ‘Vrikshasana’) you will need to start in the upright position. Bend the right knee shifting all the weight into the left leg, and turn the right knee to the right wall resting the heel against the left leg. Your shoulders should be down and your back and chest pressing forward.

Look down at the floor, focusing your mind on one particular area. Slowly slide your right foot up your left leg, as high as you can whilst maintaining your balance. Once you are balanced, bring your palms together holding the prayer position in front of your chest. Stay focused on the point on the floor to keep your balance. Once you are ready to release, exhale whilst bringing your arms down and releasing your legs to the floor.

5. Upward Facing Dog

Upward Dog

Benefits:

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens the spine, arms, wrists
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica
  • Therapeutic for asthma

Method:

For the Upward Facing Dog (Sanskrit name Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) you will need to be laying on the floor initially. Spread fingers on both hands and press palms on the floor, directly under your shoulders. Push shoulder up, with hips dropped to the floor. Push shoulders back and press your chest forwards, reaching the crown of your head up to the ceiling.

Inhale and lift your thighs and legs off the floor by pressing the tops of your feet down. To release, bend the knees and lift your hips slowly.

6. Triangle Pose

Triangle-pose-Trikonasana-2

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the legs, knees, ankles, arms, and chest
  • Stretches and opens the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine
  • Increases mental and physical equilibrium
  • Helps improve digestion
  • Reduces anxiety, stress, back pain and sciatica.

Method:

For the Triangle pose (Sanskrit name Trikonasana) you will need to begin in an upright position, with your feet separates comfortably wide apart. Turn your right foot outwards by 90 degrees, and your left foot in by about 15 degrees. The centre of your right heel should be aligned with the arch of your left foot. Your feet need to be pressing the ground, and your weight distributed evenly on both feet.

Bend your body to the right while exhaling, downward from the hips and keeping your waist straight. Put your left hand up into the air, while your right one reaches down to the floor, keeping both in a straight line. Rest your right hand on your shin or on the floor next to your right foot. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, and keep your head in an neutral position or turn slightly to the left. To release, bring your body up as you inhale, and bring your arms down to your sides and straighten your feet.

7. Seated Twist

Seated-spinal-twist_100509436-760x428

Benefits:

  • Relief in menstrual discomfort in women
  • Help in calming the brain and de-stressing
  • Stretching of spine and shoulders
  • Improvement in digestion
  • Strengthening of the groin and muscles of the legs
  • Relief from sciatica, lower back pain and neck pain
  • Improvement in the health of pregnant women
  • Improvement of the overall posture
  • Massage of the internal organs

Method:

For the Seated Twist (Sanskrit name ‘Ardha Matsyendrasana’) you will need to be sitting cross legged, stretching the spine and dropping the shoulders slightly. Inhale and bring your arms up above your head, and whilst exhaling twist your body to the right, slowly lowering your arms. Your right hand on the ground beside you, and left hand resting on the outside of your right knee. Rotate your head so you are looking over your right shoulder.

Stay in this position for 10 slow breaths, visualising yourself becoming taller as you inhale, and as you exhale twisting deeper into the pose. Your lower sine should be drawn inwards towards your stomach, making you sit tall in the pose. Repeat this for the left side, to ensure a balanced work out.

 

 

8. Bridge Pose
1ff5e92d3ddb2461_bridge.xxxlarge_1
Benefits:
  • Stretches the chest, neck, and spine
  • Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
  • Rejuvenates tired legs
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
  • Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis

Method:

To enter the Bridge Pose (Sanskrit name ‘Setu Bandhasana’) you will need to be lying on your back with both knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor hip width apart. Slide your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down, and your fingertips touching your heels.

Press your feet to the floor, and lift your hips up whilst inhaling, rolling your spine up off the floor. Lightly squeeze your knees together to ensure they say hip width apart. Push down your arms and shoulders to lift your chest upwards, and lift your hips higher with it. To release from the pose, exhale and slowly roll the spine back down to the floor.

9. Child’s Pose

Childs-Pose

Benefits:

  • Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain when done with head and torso supported

Method:

Child’s Pose (Sanskrit name ‘Balasana’), is a resting pose that you can use between more difficult yoga positions. To begin Child’s Pose, you will need to be kneeling on the floor, touching your big toes together and sitting on your heels. Separate you knees about as wide as your hips. As tyou exhale, lay your torso down between your thighs, lengthening your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis. Lift the base of your head away from the back of your neck.

Lay your hands on the floor alongside you, palms up, and lightly push the fronts of your shoulders towards the floor, puling your shoulder blades wide across your back. To release from the pose, inhale as you lift from the tailbone as it presses down and into the pelvis.

10. Mountain Pose

Mountain-Pose_RESIZED-1

Benefits:

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Firms abdomen and buttocks
  • Relieves sciatica
  • Reduces flat feet

Method:

The Mountain Pose (Sanskrit name ‘Tadasana’) is the foundation for all of the standing poses, so you will need to begin stood up. Bring the feet together or hip width apart. Spread your toes wide and push them into the floor, make sure your weight feels evenly balanced through the bottom of each foot. Pull up your knee caps, squeeze your thighs and feel your hips aligned directly over the ankles. Your legs should be straight.

As you inhale lift out your waist, pressing the crown of your head up towards the ceiling. Make sure your spine feels long and straight. As you exhale, drop your shoulders down and back as you reach your fingertips down to the floor, gently pressing your chest towards the front of the room. Then inhale and push your arms up, turning your palms and bring the arms into a H position.

As you exhale again, relax the shoulders down from the ears while still reaching the crown and fingers up. To release from the pose, exhale as you bring your arms down to your sides.