“There are not enough hours in the day to get everything on my list done.”
“I am not doing enough or spending enough time with my family and friends.” “How am I going to pay for everything?”
“I am not taking care of myself or relaxing enough.”
Do these statements run through your mind many times per day?
We are surrounded by people, places, and circumstances that create stress in our lives and we put pressure on ourselves. What kinds of effects can we expect to see as a result of our stress-filled lives?
We know that stress plays a role in causing or making worse a number of diseases. From heart disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and headaches to increased fat storage and weakened immune response. We are learning more each year about how stress effects the body and mind.
Stress effects all of these conditions through the bodies’ hormones which are released in response to the nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system releases epinephrine and norepinephrine from the adrenal glands when we are in a stressful situation to give a quick burst of energy to deal with the situation. The adrenal glands also releases cortisol to deal with the stressful event by dumping sugar and fat into the blood stream to provide energy for continued exertion or for healing to take place. Cortisol increases our appetite so we take on extra calories to replace those used and it down regulates inflammation which while promoting healing also weakens the immune system.
We, as humans, have this finely tuned regulatory system designed to help us deal with stress, but we are finding that it is causing all kinds of other health problems. What has gone wrong? The short answer is that the stressors we face have changed, we no longer have to worry about running away from predators. Instead, we are faced with a continuous barrage of non-life-threatening stresses. They might be demands from work, family and friends, or it could be the noise and lights coming from your devices. It might even be from the practices you use to deal with stress.
If all stress bad, do we need to find a way to cut it out of our life? No, we actually need stress in our life to keep everything functioning. If we did not stress our bodies they would begin to atrophy. Stress brings us focus and clarity when we have a task that needs to get done. We need stress in our lives in order to be strong and resilient. Stress helps us rise to the challenges of life. We do not want a life devoid of stress, but we do need to provide ourselves with periods of recovery in our stress filled lives.
How can we create moments of rest and recovery?
The first thing we need to acknowledge is not all of our leisure activities are relaxing, at least not on a physiological level. Unless we are down regulating the sympathetic nervous system and allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to express itself, then our “relaxation” is not providing time to recover and thus we are not as healthy as we can be. If your activities resemble the body’s response to stress: excitement, increased heart rate, or quick movement, then you are not moving into the parasympathetic nervous system and you are not recovering from stress.
Restorative Yoga practice can be beneficial to your health.
In Restorative we seek to relax the body with limited outside stimulus, allowing the body and mind to slip into the parasympathetic nervous response and to rest and repair before the next stressor.
I invite you to relax and go within with Restorative Yoga at URU by the airport. Flow and Restore, Mondays at 9AM with Angela Marchetti and Restorative Yoga Wednesdays at 5PM with Kathea Bryan. There will be a Restorative Yoga Training, April 30th from 8:30am-5pm with Kathea and David Bryan at URU by the airport.
Please send any questions about the training or the Restorative practice to firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Bryan began the practice of yoga in January 2012 and quickly experienced a shift in his worldview. HE felt the call to attend yoga teacher training and in 2014 became a certified Kripalu instructor. He is drawn to the slower practices which allow time to feel and discover what is going on in the body and mind. As a teacher, David attempts to create a space for discovery as well as allowing the practitioner to find the posture that works for their body.