I think we could all agree pain is not a nice thing. No one wants it. The health industry spends billions of dollars every year implementing new and improved health initiatives to assist people to manage pain in whatever form it may take within their body.
Pain is an interesting concept I find. Through my experience over the years, I’ve come to learn there are two primary types of pain. 1 - is serious pain. It’s very real and is a sign of damage to the body and needs specific attention. 2 - emotionally driven pain. Assuming you have a pre-existing injury, we can become hypersensitive to it, preventing ourselves from actually trying to go that little bit deeper in our practice. As a natural defence mechanism, our body forces us to quickly retract as soon as we begin feeling any discomfort within it. There is a fear the body will be harmed should we continue. Whilst in some cases this is absolutely necessary and I ALWAYS recommend you listen to your body first without trying to force anything, our body has also become very skilled at limiting us from reaching our true potential as a direct result of this hypersensitivity. So what to do…
Well - I have one primary suggestion. Control the monkey mind!
If you tell yourself you will be harmed by a certain asana - guess what - this is very likely to be the outcome. The opposite is also true. As soon as you begin breaking down barriers of the mind by believing you can achieve something, you absolutely will. It wont happen overnight, but slowly your body will begin to open up and allow you to explore different heights you once never thought possible. Your mind will allow you to work with the discomfort and find ways of moving through it, of letting the tension go. This all takes time and great patience but it can be achieved.
A key technique for controlling our thoughts is through our breath. With eyes gently closed, take 10-15 minutes a day to sit still and breathe long and deep breathes into the body. This will help you to find stillness which can be later drawn upon when facing those somewhat uncomfortable asanas. From there, you will fly!