Audrey C. Moser

I’ve never felt better in my life, more powerful or more in control and I want to share about learning a practice of “Riding the Waves.” As I faced another summer, confined alone to my upstairs condo, sitting in front of the air conditioner until the outside temperature would get below 70 degrees and I could go outside, my usual, uninvited, annual depression began to take hold.

Then, in early May 2011, while attending my weekly “Easing into Yoga” class, my teacher Kimberly Carson spoke about a new class she is teaching – “Yoga of Awareness for Chronic Pain.” She described the eight-week sessions – two-hour classes, based on gentle stretching, meditation, breathing practices, combined with the exploration of yogic wisdom and study of the relationship among yoga practice, experiences, and management of pain. She described all sensing as happening in waves and learning to “Ride the Waves” is imperative. Being definitely aware that I lived with chronic pain, I signed up.

The first class was May 6, 2011, and lo and behold, within two weeks, I needed no pain meds for my chronic pain. After learning a three-part breathing technique that enabled me to breathe through the onset of the first twinge of forthcoming horror, I was able to conscientiously and calmly “ride the waves” of sensing and tune into just being, and the twinge diminished and disappeared. The exploration of a different way of thinking about my pain and training my mind to respond differently to the stress, fear, and hopelessness that had accompanied my past five-year struggle living with EM is exciting and remarkable. It isn’t easy or simple, but takes daily yoga practice, meditation, and concentration. I’m still in a learning process, still tuning into “riding the waves.” The practice has produced marvelous results with my chronic pain and when used in response to acute pain, a softening and deepening peace ensues. As I write, summer is here and not one day has found me confined.  I continue to seek shade, use some common sense, and take my daily medicinal routine of gabapetin, Zoloft, and Zyrtec.

This incredible class of empowerment was developed by Kimberly Carson, MPH, RTY health educator, specializing in mind-body integration. She works as a yoga therapist, mindfulness teacher, and teacher trainer at OHSU and Duke University Integrative Medicine.

P.S. It’s January 2012 and I’m still “Riding the Waves,” still amazed and delighted with the calming results and still pain-med free (other than an occasional Advil). Audrey lives in Portland, OR, USA, may be contacted at acmoser2@juno.com