Five Questions with the Host of Healing Yoga
Deborah Devine is an expert, certified instructor specializing in restorative yoga. She’s also the host of Healing Yoga: Yoga for Real People with Real Problems, a new television fitness series designed for people aged 45 and up with an emphasis on achievable and appropriate yoga poses that help ease the symptoms of age-related issues such as joint pain and menopause. We asked her some questions about her life and practice.
You credit yoga with improving your health and weight loss. How did you do it? My health was a complete wreck. Then, I went to a gentle yoga class and felt truly relaxed. Stress just melted away. I went from a size 18 to a size 8. I stopped getting sick. Pain disappeared. I learned to open my heart and I felt happy for the first time in years. The irony is that I didn’t even come to yoga to lose weight; I actually came to the practice to get out of pain. There were no specific weight goals in mind when I was practicing, and in fact, I have never kept a scale in my house.
What advice do you have for the beginner to yoga? Well, there are a number of things to consider. If you are young and beautiful and bendy and sporty, you can pretty much take any kind of yoga out there. But if you are stiff, have physical limitations, are working through injuries, or dealing with a chronic condition, you probably want to deal with an experienced teacher who has had training in alignment, or yoga therapeutics. There are certain traditions, like the Iyengar method, or the Anusara method where these topics are a key component of the curriculum. Ask other yoga practitioners. Many people go to different studios and they may be able to guide you to an appropriate teacher or studio.
What advice do you have for someone who is skeptical about trying yoga to relieve pain? I understand completely how they must be feeling. I would recommend performing a due diligence exercise to find a teacher who is best suited and qualified to help. Ask them to tell you how they can help you. Have they dealt with this issue in their own lives, or have they received special training, or do they have a lot of experience?
What are other things that somebody taking yoga to relieve pain can do to help? Try soft! You’ve been trying hard your whole life, and it got you so far. Try soft and you’ll go so much further. Taking your practice into a realm of more ease and quietude is very rewarding. Find an experienced teacher who can also help you with meditation. Meditating is very important in management of pain. We may not be able to eliminate pain, but through meditation, we can change our relationship to pain, and that can be very liberating,
What are reasonable expectations for someone who is trying yoga to relieve pain? If you are with the right teacher and doing the right practice for your unique situation, yoga will be a godsend. You will feel better, and enjoy breathing easier, and you’ll sleep more soundly. Your parasympathetic nervous system will be dominant, the rest and digest functions will improve. This is where deep healing takes place.
You can watch Deborah Devine and Healing Yoga every day on the Brand New ONE Network. For more information visit: onebodymindspiritlove.com/shows/healing-yoga/