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How Somatic Yoga Can Help You Feel Better in Body, Mind & Spirit

Parinaz Shams| Founder of Embrace Your Essence

I used to suffer from chronic lower back pain, which is commonly referred to as sciatica.

It would keep me up at night from the time I was 16 years old. I recall the first night I ever experienced sciatic pain while on a college tour with my dad. I laid down in a hotel bed and felt a searing pain shoot up the back of my left leg and land on my lower back. It didn’t go away for 2 weeks.

At the time I had no idea how to care for this. I called my mother who said:

“Yeah, it runs in the family. You’ll just have to manage the pain with a cocktail of Advil, Tylenol, and numbing agents. And there will be times when you’ll just not be able to do much.”

Not be able to do much!?

But I was incredibly active. An athlete, playing multiple sports throughout the year. My favorite hobby was working out. That coupled with my tendency for anxiety and jitters, there was no way I could just not do much.

While in college, I found Iyengar Yoga, which at the time was completely foreign to me. I recall mentioning to the teacher that I had chronic back pain that would limit my mobility. She said to me “We’ll take care of that”.

And shockingly, it did.

At the time, I didn’t understand how, but the certain postures she would recommend completely alleviated the pinching pain in my back.

This puzzled me for years and sent me on a quest of discovering my physical body.

I spent years in yoga studios after that, thinking that stretching was the solution to my problem. I was convinced that if I stayed fit and built strength in my body plus the yoga classes a couple times a week, I would keep the pain away.

But then, the back pain came back with a vengeance. I started my first job out of college, which took me 3 thousand miles away from home into an incredibly high-stress work environment. I worked for a horticulture therapy center where we pulled 15-hour shifts for 8 days in a row.

Within the first week of being there, I was unable to sleep because the unbearable pain came back.

“What is going on?!”I thought to myself. How could this be?

I spent another year trying to resolve the pain through medication and stretching, and there were so many nights of tears as I lay awake in pain and exhaustion.

Finally, I found myself in another studio. But this time, it was different. The teacher was a woman who talked about engaging with the poses in a way that was soft and comforting to the body.

It wasn’t yin yoga, but the way she guided us through the poses was different than I had ever heard before. I spoke to her after class. That day she became my yoga teacher. She trained me to become a yoga instructor, which led to another handful of years of me slowly discovering the root cause of my insistent back pain and how to heal it.

I discovered the following things through my journey:

  1. Chronic pain in a localized area is most often (unless you have a diagnosed issue like a tumor, growth, etc) caused by poor circulation.

  2. Poor circulation is the result of chronic tension and tightness in your muscles

  3. Chronically tight muscles come from conditioning (your daily stress, trauma, old injuries)

  4. Yoga alleviates this when done in a certain way that focuses on promoting circulation rather than performance.

Over the years I’ve taught at several yoga studios and have found mentorship through Dr Scott Blossom, a 25-year practitioner of Hatha Yoga and Shadow Yoga.

Studying under Dr. Blossom’s guidance, I have learned that most of the yoga done in studios today is about performance, power, and strength building.

It exacerbates muscle tension rather than promoting relaxation of the muscles which leads to improved circulation.

On the other hand, in a specific form (the way that Dr Blossom has taught me) it can have an immediate effect on the body by promoting circulation that opens up space where you feel lighter, more mobile, and most importantly, pain-free.

This yoga is not found in studios as it’s not the trendy hot girl yoga.

It’s not yoga you need to be flexible to do it.

You don’t even need to own a pair of yoga pants to do this yoga.

It's accessible to all, no matter your age stage, or background.

Even if you’ve tried yoga think you aren’t good at it.

Even if you feel like when you do yoga you’re doing too wrong.

That is largely because there’s a huge emphasis on making it a workout with fancy poses and complex transitions that confuse you more than anything.

That’s not what yoga needs to be.

That’s not what yoga was initially about when it came into existence thousands of years ago by Indian sages, scholars, and yogis.

It’s a practice that brings you into union with your Complete Self- your body, mind, and heart.

That is achieved through simple, effective movements that

target the inner layers of your body and create inner calm through muscle relaxation.

A result of doing this work, which is called Somatic Yoga, is feeling calm and relaxed, that your physical body will be healthier, stronger, more vibrantly healthy, and will have greater longevity.

You won't feel heavy, weighed down by age, stress, or fatigue.

You will be able to do more for longer.

If that is what you want, then I highly encourage you to not give up on yoga but to change your approach.

Somatic Yoga is not "hot girl yoga", it’s healing yoga.

It is for people who want to banish the chronic pain once and for all.

People who are ready to reduce inflammation, and heal the body from the inside out, naturally.

I help people do this every day through my online program, Embrace Your Essence, and through my in-person retreats.

If you want to learn more about what Somatic Healing Yoga can do for you and how you can join one of my programs to get your healing started now, click the button below. to book a call with me.

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