Take Time to Calm Your Nervous System!
Our autonomic nervous system has two parts:
1) Sympathetic – which creates appropriate responses when we are in Fight, Flight, Freeze, Submit mode. It’s great if you’re holding onto your cell phone as someone is trying to steal it out of your hands, or dodging an oncoming car that turned into a one-way street the wrong way or other responses to deal with potentially life-threatening situations.
2) Parasympathetic – which is a cooler, calmer state of mind. This is your place of contentment and inner peace.
We need both systems, and I’ve been in situations where I’ve been grateful have had both systems functioning. That being said, we spend an inordinate amount of time stressing over myriad amounts of little stuff which continually activates our sympathetic nervous system causing stress and anxiousness. Chronic stress can overheat our adrenal glands and kidneys and create inflammation and dis-ease throughout our body.
Here’s a short sequence to help cool the flames of a stressed out, overheated nervous system:
• Warrior I / Virabhadrasana I – with your back heel up (to bring the stretch on your psoas)
• Seated Twist – start from your head and twist downward. Twists tug on your diaphragm and help restart healthy diaphragmatic breathing.
• Legs Up the Wall / Viparita Karani – get your hips up on a bolster or a few pillows or blankets. The weight of your organs resting on your diaphragm will naturally invite a deeper exhale to break the stress cycle. Plus, it can help with insomnia!
• Seated Forward Fold / Paschimottanasana – research shows that front bends cool the autonomic nervous system. If your hamstrings are really tight, try Big Toe pose / Supta Padangusthasana instead with a strap.
If you’re here in the Eugene area, drop in to a class this week where we’ll take it down a notch and rebalance these two parts of our nervous system. Check my class schedule before the end of the year gets away from you! Only one morning class at 10:15 on Thursday morning – New Year’s Eve. No class on Friday.