It's Not About the Pain

This is an excerpt from an interview for the book Healing Happens: Stories of Healing Against All Odds. 

Nicole DeAvilla is a trail blazer educating and coaching a new generation of parents, change makers and yoga professionals. As a best-selling author, speaker and coach with over 35 years of experience, she is your go-to person for you, your family or your group. Her latest book is called The Two Minute Yoga Solution: Fast and Easy Stress and Back Pain Relief. I brought her into the Healing Happens book because she is so well respected as a successful yoga therapist at The Expanding Light Retreat Center which was founded by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of the yoga guru Paramhansa Yogananda.


Avital:  I’ve heard that one time when Swami Kriyananda was sick and could barely breathe somebody came to visit him. The people who were watching over Swami asserted, “No, you can’t come in. He’s sick.” But the person insisted, “I had a meeting with him. I want to see him.” Suddenly, Swami came downstairs in his robe not appearing to be sick. Then the person left, and Swami got back into bed barely able to breathe again.

According to another story, a concrete well once dropped on the foot
of his guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, causing him great pain. He would show people that if he centered all his energy in his spiritual eye, the point between the eyebrows, the pain in his foot would disappear then return when he again focused on his foot.

Nicole:  I had a similar experience while using yoga techniques to stop pain. When I was a mom with young children, late one night after everybody else was in bed I was writing about one of my mentors, Reverend John Laurence, another direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. I was sleep deprived and had been sitting too much.

My six-year-old daughter had fallen asleep with her dad in our bed. Typically, I would mindfully pick her up and take her to her bed, but this time I did all the things I knew not to do. When picking her up, I leaned over too far from my center of gravity, and my sacroiliac joint went out, causing excruciating intense back pain. I dropped her, fortunately onto the bed, and I fell to the floor.

Everybody woke up,  and I said, “Just put a blanket over me. I just need to breathe. I can’t move. The pain is really bad.” It was hard to even breathe without causing more pain, let alone move. While lying there breathing softly with a pain relieving breath technique, I discovered, I was focused on the pain but soon realized that was not helpful. Instead, I focused intently on the happy moments before the pain, thinking of my daughter and my son and of writing about the inspirational Reverend John Laurence. Before long I entered into an ecstatic state of joyfulness, though I still had pain.

That was another pivotal moment, helping me understand that even if we can’t get rid of pain we do not need to be unhappy. I was able to experience deep joy despite the pain.

To learn more about the book Healing Happens: Stories of Healing Against All Odds, and discover more inspirational stories and transformative health and healing tips, please visit:

To connect with Nicole DeAvilla, please visit

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