Pain and Neuroplasticity
Last week I introduced beginner’s mind as a philosophical practice we can use to restore neural plasticity to a yoga practice that has maybe gotten a little rote.
This week I wanted to talk about pain and neuroplasticity.
Have you seen the video of the veteran who wants to learn yoga and the only person who will work with him is the ex WWE wrestler Diamond Dallas Page?
I’ve probably watched this video 50 times and it still chokes me up every time.
When we start a new activity we might think it’ll be easy because things come naturally to us. Alternately, we might think this new thing will be hard because our attitude is to acknowledge the challenges present in new things. Either way, we are probably right because we are bringing our attitudes and ideas to the activity.
Moving beyond pain with neuroplasticity
Did you catch Arthur’s statement around three minutes? He says, “Just because I can’t do it today doesn’t mean I’m not going to be able to do it someday.”
That’s an example of being open to neural plasticity when times are tough. Sometimes the best we can do is to have faith in neural plasticity. We have to have faith that our body, mind and spirit is open to change. It’s the scientific backing for the fake it till you make it mentality. When you live with chronic pain, a mental health challenge, or are just going through tough times, the knowledge that change is inevitable can be all you have.
Neural plasticity is a concept that tells us our brain is open to change.
How we choose to shape it is up to us.
Next week we’ll build on pain and neuroplasticity by exploring how novel physical environments build neural plasticity.
Read Post #1 in the series, Beginner’s Mind and Neuroplasticity.