Throughout our lives, we are constantly on high alert for the next perceived threat. This is how our ancestors evolved and survived to create everyone who is alive today. But even though physiologically our bodies and brains have not changed much in the last thousands of years, the environment we live in certainly has.
It is a new world – one where we have no choice but to be constantly bombarded by an overload of stimuli. In the past, our responses to stress indicators were healthy and necessary for our survival. If a bear charged at us, we would choose to fight, or run. Nowadays it is hardly possible to fight or run from a messy house, a stressful job, or a toxic relationship. It’s not even possible to cross a street without subconsciously assessing the risk, gauging scenario outcomes, and relying on our reaction timing to move through life. Even when we are “relaxing”, watching TV or sleeping, this state of high-alert can still be active as we critique, judge and dream.When we experience stress, we are experiencing the release of adrenal hormones as our body prepares for fight or flight. Our heart rate and blood pressure go up, muscles tighten, and metabolism is affected. Bodily systems that are not considered a priority such as digestion, growth, repair, and reproduction are slowed down. When this happens over and over again throughout the day, it effectively shortens our lifespan. No wonder so many of us feel burned out!
Restorative yoga teaches you how to turn off the fight-or-flight responses in your brain, and tune into the other half of your autonomous nervous system: the half responsible for calming the body and switching our burned out brains back to baseline. When we are able to control our responses to perceived threats, we reduce our stress level. And when we reduce our stress level, we increase our longevity, and our happiness.
- Improved circulation
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced blood sugar levels
- Increase in good cholesterol (HDL)
- Improvement in bodily systems including
- Healing and immunity
- Reduction of muscle tension, insomnia, and fatigue
- Enhanced exchange of oxygen, nutrients and wastes across cell membranes
- Slowing of brainwave patterns to states that aid mind/body coordination, and overall mental calmness and alertness
Many students will declare that their favorite yoga pose is the final relaxation, Savasana. Imagine an entire class of Savasanas! In every restorative session you will learn pranayama (breathing) techniques, meditation exercises, and the art of active, conscious relaxation. Classes are suitable for all levels and all ages of practitioners. Props are used to adjust the body into a completely relaxed position.
Terra is a Yoga Teacher at Inspire Yoga