Answer from Justine
Thank you for your note. I am so glad the videos are helping you!
As far as the pain from fibromyalgia, I think the best way to work with it is through guided meditation that calms the nervous system – getting us out of fight or flight and into rest and digest. When I hurt my back badly a few years ago, Yoga Nidra meditation with Richard Miller was the best thing I could do to ease the pain. Sometimes, I could barely walk and it would take me about ten minutes to find a comfortable resting position, on my back in bed with bolsters under my knees. Then I would hit play on the meditation – and often, I was pain free by the end of the meditation…..not always, but often. When we are in pain the nervous system is stressed and even if we can get a few minutes of reprieve it is very helpful! The recording I used can be found on irest.org
and is called ‘Resting in Stillness.’ There is a long and a short practice. I highly recommend giving it a try.
Sometimes when we are in pain, our breath gets very short – and this triggers the nervous system into fight or flight. The video below is about lung health, but it focuses on opening the muscles of the breath to make it easier to get full breaths.
Another strategy would be to do seated breath work, focusing on lengthening the exhale and possibly suspending the breath out for a moment or two. Lengthening the exhale and suspending the breath out has a calming effect on the nervous system. Doing this focused breathing a few times a day might start to help ease the pain. I would love to get feedback from you if you try it 🙂
There is as lot of talk these days about ‘vagal tone’ – strengthening the vagus nerve, so to speak. The vagus nerve is the main nerve of the Parasympathetic Nervous System, rest and digest. It is called the wandering nerve – it is one of the 12 cranial nerves and it wanders all around the digestive system. One way to tone it is with crocodile breath: lying on your stomach, either folding your arms for your head to rest on (which might not feel good on your shoulders) or folding a blanket for your forehead to rest on. Slowly start deepening the breath. Lying prone like that will strengthen the diaphragm as you deepen the breath, but also massages the vagus nerve. Maybe start with just a couple of minutes and see how it effects your nervous system….but also your body as it might feel awkward. I attached a document with detailed instructions on how to do it. (Please click the ‘Open Handout’ button below to view.)
I hope some of these strategies help you. Please do keep us posted – you and others like you are why Sherry and I do what we do!