This weekend I taught my Restorative Yoga Workshop and it was great! Many of the students came out of the class wondering why there aren’t regular classes like these. Most of the classes offered and the ones most people want to take are the fast paced yoga classes. Why is it that we are attracted to the things that may keep us out of balance?
Well, it seems that most of our present day society is revolved around doing, doing, doing, and associate being busy with meaningful. On top of that, the continuous flow of stimulus that we deal with day to day, can drive us to continue doing more. We may not realize that we are possibly tired until we have a moment to really stop and rest.
In a Nutshell: What happens when we are stressed?
Physiologically, adrenaline and cortisol trigger our fight or flight mode in response to a real or perceived threat to our well being and survival. (Meaning that even a stressful thought could trigger our fight or flight mode.) These hormones play and important role in our body in these “stressful” situations because they cause our body to pump more blood and to the bigger muscle groups in our body to become more alert and get us out of a potentially dangerous situation.
Adrenaline and Cortisol
These are two very important hormones and are closely related. Adrenaline provides a very shorty term response to stress and releases quickly from the body. On the other hand, cortisol is increased in the body when adrenaline is increased and stays very active even after a stressful situation has subsided. Cortisol has many benefits, but too much of any good thing even, can become a poison.
When we are constantly in that fight or fight mode and not getting the rest and nourishment we need. That means that these hormones are streaming through our bodies 24/7. What does that mean? When there is increased cortisol in the body, it relegates our bodies resources to our extremities, thus starving our vital organs of the energy and nourishment that it needs to heal, restore and renew ourselves.
Results of too much stress and cortisol in our bodies:
Premature aging, dis-ease, more sensitive to stressful situations, overall hormonal resistance, adrenal burnout, weight gain, weak immunity, memory loss, insomnia, poor digestion, high cholesterol levels, the list goes on…
Tips on how to stay stress free!
So how do we reverse or keep ourselves at bay from stress, and get the rest we need to stay healthy and happy? Here are some tips that may help you out!
* Make sure you are getting enough sleep Sleep is vital , and rejuvenates our body and mind. Ayurveda states that it is one of the 3 Pillars to good health. When we sleep, our organs and bodily system is cleansed and re nourished. If we are not getting the sleep that we need and not listening to our internal clock, our body is starved of the essentials and ultimately has to continue working even harder to stay alive.
*Eat when you are hungry It’s as simple as that! When we overeat, or eat when we are not hungry. we disturb agni (aka metabolism. Yoga and Ayurveda recognize it as our internal fire that regulates the digestion of foods as well as the impressions that we take in through our sense organs and mind.) hindering its ability to digest properly. This can create disturbances in our digestive functions leading to indigestion, constipation, bloating, gas, water retention, etc) and down the line can lead to further dis-ease.
*Rest!!! It is essential! Nobody ever taught us how to relax, it is a skill to be learned, so keep practicing! Restorative yoga, take a vacation, take a moment out of your day to just sit there and rest, or meditate…
*Expose yourself to sunlight and moonlight. It feels good, and some studies show that by doing that, it can help restore hormonal balance.
*Be in nature It will clear your mind and remind you of how beauty-full our planet is. It’s also a great way to connect not only to your environment, but nature has a way of reminding us of our intrinsic connection to the divine within.
* Laugh and be in good company This is a guaranteed path to releasing stress and it will definitely lift your spirits!
*Treat yourself! You deserve it!! We’re so much harder on ourselves than we deserve. Taking the time to treat ourselves nice ( eat yummy meal or go to your favorite restaurant, receive a massage, taking the day off for yourself, indulging in a warm bath, take a vacation) ultimately makes us feel good. This is important! When we take care of ourselves we contribute to the peace and happiness for all beings!