080: Yoga and Endometriosis [Part 2] with Dustienne Miller
In part 2 of our 2-part series on endometriosis, Shannon asked yoga teacher and physical therapist Dustienne Miller to share her knowledge and experience working with clients with this chronic illness.
Dustienne feels strongly endometriosis is underdiagnosed and that there is much more to be understood in this area of women’s health. It is now recognized that 1 in 10 women struggle with this chronic illness. Dustienne also wants all women to trust their intuition when determining the severity of their pain and to know that period pain should never be debilitating.
Dustienne began studying to become a physiotherapist in 1994 and began practicing yoga while doing musical theater in New York City as a way to warm up. She continued practicing yoga at home and decided to pursue yoga teacher training at Kripalu. Dustienne came to realize as a yoga teacher and a physiotherapist specializing in pelvic health, that these disciplines complemented each other beautifully. She began to integrate yoga into physical therapy home programs and saw the difference yoga made to her clients suffering from endometriosis.
Dustienne details for us how pranayama and asana can ease the symptoms of endometriosis. She describes the connection between pranayama and the pelvic floor and her way of leading clients through asana in a progressive fashion to minimize overextending themselves.
6:20 Dustienne’s yoga and physical therapy journey
8:50 Dustienne describes endometriosis
10:40 Symptoms of endometriosis
12:20 What Dustienne has heard from her clients suffering from endometriosis
13:20 Are the endo flare-ups in sync with the menstrual cycle?
15:40 Pain management- the importance of teaching strategies in order to allow sufferers to have ownership over managing the flares
How yoga can benefit those with endometriosis:
16:25 Pranayama- a daily practice can help with the prominence of the parasympathetic nervous system to be more dominant which can lessen the pain
17:30 Relationship between pranayama and the pelvic floor and the importance of lengthening the spine to optimize the pranayama-pelvic floor connection
20:55 Asana- a gentle yoga program can mobilize the tissues and the muscles that are attaching to both the pelvis and the thorax
22:15 Yoga poses to approach with caution extensions and cause rebound pain
24:40 Is there a pain level where one should avoid asana and Dustienne’s hope that students will feel that for themselves
27:40 The benefit of child’s pose, goddess pose, banana pose, standing half-moon, supine twist (to help with rotation through the spine) and their variations
32:55 Dustienne’s love for restorative yoga, that it is “real” yoga
33:55 Additional advice from Dustienne and on reconditioning the body to have a different response to pain to help lessen it (softening the belly, table pose letting belly hang)
36:05 Other treatments Dustienne recommends for endometriosis
38:20 How endometriosis can be diagnosed and how treatment options are evolving as research into this illness expands
40:25 Misconceptions around endometriosis, how raising awareness is helping e.g. through social media campaign #1in10
42:10 Importance of listening to intuition- don’t push yourself
42:55 Shannon’s closing thoughts and wrap-up and on “curating your team”
Dustienne’s summary page of resources
Dustienne’s website: Your Pace Yoga
Related TCYT Episodes:
Yoga for Pelvic Health Teacher Training September 22nd and 23rd, 2018
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