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Hey y'all!

I'm Miranda. Welcome to Namaste in Nature where we craft custom yoga + hiking experiences near Asheville, NC and create fresh content about nature, yoga, meditation & mindfulness every Friday.

How To Use Yoga, Nature & Mindfulness for Pain Relief

How To Use Yoga, Nature & Mindfulness for Pain Relief

Hey Y’all, Quick Question:

Do you have pain? Like, ever? Anywhere?

If the answer is no, then either share some of your magic potion with the rest of the class or go back to the alternate plane or planet made of bubble wrap, Snuggies and wildflowers from whence you came!

For the rest of us mortals, pain is a physical, emotional and mental struggle between what we can or should be able to handle on our own and what we want or need help with. (Whether or not we’re willing to admit we need help, is another story.)

Is my pain real or imagined? Do I really need to go see a doctor? Where is my pain coming from? I don’t just want to swallow a pill, I want more natural pain relief. Isn’t Nature the best medicine anyways?

Well good luck with that, because I am no expert…

…Which is why I’m featuring Dr. Crystal Frazee - Yoga Teacher, PT, CHWC, C-IAYT and Founder of MindfulPainRelief.Org - on the blog this week!

Keep reading to learn about how she turned her private struggles with pain into her unique Mindful Pain Relief Method. Her personal passion to help women like you improve quality of life through Yoga, Nature and Mindfulness. She’ll teach you how to use your own brain to reduce your own chronic pain!

Namaste & Have A Great Day!

-Miranda

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Tell me about yourself, your own chronic pain and your physical therapy journey.

My journey with chronic pain and women’s health started early in life as I watched my mom discover she had Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.) and navigate the evolving symptoms and emotions that come with that. She showed me what hope and perseverance really look like and has been a big part of my inspiration all along. She’s a strong woman that’s very confident in her abilities despite the challenges her condition has brought to her life.

I had a lingering concern in the background of my mind for a while that I might have M.S. Things just didn’t quite feel right in my body and as I got older it became more and more noticeable. I discovered yoga through a friend and found that it helped with my physical discomforts, anxiety, and helped me to feel more connected to myself and the world around me. It felt important to learn more about yoga and how it could help me dive deeper into what was going on for me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was a natural progression that after practicing for a couple of years to became a certified yoga teacher. My training was life changing and steeped in the Asthtanga and Iyengar yoga traditions.

It was after engaging in the fast and strength based Ashtanga practice daily for a couple of years that I started having more and more pains…first the wrists, then the low back, then the pelvic joints and hips…and more. I was eager to learn more about the body…everything about it fascinated me! I met a woman in school to be a Physical Therapist and it sounded like a great fit. In 2005, I started training as a Doctor in Physical Therapy at the University of Colorado in Denver.

I was seeking a bridge between the eastern holistic wisdom practices and western science that could help me understand my pain and empower me to help others, including my mom. Orthopedics taught me that my pain was related to connective tissue hypermobility (and not MS) and my yoga taught me how to relate differently to my body and how to feel whole even though sometimes I felt like I was “coming apart.” My intention was to combine the two worlds of yoga and physical therapy and that lead me on an indirect path to where I am today as the creator of the Mindful Pain Relief Method.

How and why did you become a yoga teacher?

Learning and teaching are my two most favorite things. It really brings me joy to learn new things and break them down so they are easy for others to understand. I started with a 200 hr YTT and then started teaching in yoga teacher trainings and creating workshops on preventing and correcting pain in the hips, shoulders, and spine. I pursued a 500 hr YTT and then became certified as a Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT). The letters aren’t really important. What’s important is I aspire to live my yoga everyday through how I’m present with myself and my clients and how I listen within so I can be an ideal example for them.   

What is mindful pain relief?

Mindful Pain Relief is the culmination of 15 years of study and working with clients to decrease pain and reclaim their lives. I help women in chronic pain learn to restore hope, ease tension, and understand how to impact their pain {predictably}. Women in pain need a deep and broad tool bag to pull from. The Mindful Pain Relief Method (MPRM) teaches women easy to learn brain training techniques that includes Mindfulness, Guided Imagery, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Behavior Change Theory.

It’s really fascinating that all you need to do to change your pain is use your brain! The issue with chronic pain is the way the brain processes the signal. There’s lots of specific strategies to minimize the frequency, duration, and intensity of the signal and shift the brain’s response to the message altogether.

The icing on the cake is how the MPRM addresses women’s specific needs. That includes their unique nutrition needs, lifestyle demands, hormone cycles, body image challenges, and the emotions that goes with all of that. There’s really nowhere else for women dealing with ongoing pain to go where they feel seen, heard, and supported so comprehensively.

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What are some positive health benefits of simply being in nature?

  • Hormonal

Vitamin D (calcitriol) is known as the sunshine vitamin, and it’s best received in the body through sunlight exposure on the skin. Almost half of women in the US are deficient of Vitamin D and the reality is that the nutrient is not as well absorbed by a supplement as it is from the sun. Vitamin D helps regulate hormones and is important for bone health. So get out into nature, without your sunscreen, and soak up at least 15 minutes a day.

  • Physiologic

I don’t believe in stress reduction, but do teach clients about stress management. Stress is a given in our busy, modern lives. What should you do to manage stress, you might be wondering? Get into nature, of course. Nature is one of the most predictable and efficient strategies to lower stress and normalize cortisol levels which is great for overall health and better pain processing.

  • Emotional

The truth is that every woman needs to find a way to feel grounded and centered emotionally. Daily life challenges and chronic pain tend to stoke anxiety and self-doubt. Being in nature makes it easier to slow breathing and to be more aware of the experience of the moment. When it comes to learning how to be “present” I recommend sitting in nature and take 5 breaths while you observe messages from all each of the 5 senses. Give it a try!

  • Spiritual

Regardless of your religious perspective, it’s therapeutic to feel connected to something bigger than yourself. When you’re in nature, it’s impossible to deny that you are a part of something larger. The ecosystem is buzzing with life and every organism, drop of water, and breeze of air are interconnected. Chronic pain can challenge a woman’s sense of self and her contribution to the world. Being in nature is a great antidote to feeling small and instead gives a sense of awe and wonder.  

How can being in nature help relieve chronic pain?

I teach women that it’s important to create daily rituals to restore. By restore, I mean to engage in activities that give more energy and sense of wholeness than they take. They build you up instead of depleting you.

When it comes to creating a pain relief plan that leads to predictable results, there needs to be a way to “deposit” into the “pain relief bank account” and repair the withdrawals that an overactive nervous system makes. Nature is a perfect option because it helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the rest and repair system.

The more women learn to focus on the sights, sounds, and sensations coming from Mother Nature, the less they may perceive their pain (or negative emotions) since the brain can really only focus on one input at a time. Learning to be mindful in nature is brain training at its finest!


Who can benefit from the Mindful Pain Relief Method?

Any woman looking to learn tools to shift her relationship to pain and reclaim her body and life can benefit from learning the Mindful Pain Relief Method. Since I work virtually through 1x1, online workshops, and online group programs anyone can participate. I work with women of all ages with every sort of condition or type of pain imaginable. Pain is pain and the principles of pain science apply universally. If someone wants to learn more about how the MPRM can help them specifically they can go to www.MindfulPainRelief.org to learn more and schedule a free consultation call to talk through their unique situation.  

There are ONLY 3 DAYS LEFT to grab the last few spots available in my 8-week program starting Sept. 25! It's full of weekly interactive classes and tons of support to teach you specific mind-body practices for pain relief, working towards body autonomy so you feel more confident in your ability to predictably & consistently alleviate more pain so you can reclaim your life. http://mindfulpainrelief.org/reduce-pain-now

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