The antidote to combat stress in your daily life: Restorative Yoga

Bristol Yogini: Marcy Hullander-RYT talks about the benefits of Restorative Yoga

Why restorative? 

 

Restorative yoga is often referred to as the "antidote to stress". How often do you say to yourself, "If I can just get through this week"? Do words like "frazzled," "anxious" or "drained" appear in your mental vocabulary? Is it ever a struggle for you to get to sleep at night? These are just a few "symptoms" of stress. We, as a society, have become so accustomed to stress that we don't even recognize when it is present in our lives. 

According to the American Psychological Association, there are three categories of stress; acute, episodic, and chronic. For most of us, all three are present in some form. 

1. Acute stress - short in duration and most common; think skiing down a steep slope, skydiving, running late to work, stressing over deadlines, or worrying about conversations had or those still to be had. Acute stress can manifest physically in muscular tension, back pain, tension headaches, and in the bowels through acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea. 

2. Episodic stress - is acute stress suffered frequently. The feeling of always being in a rush but always late, being unable to get organized, taking on too much, and "never having enough hours in the day". Symptoms of episodic stress are the same as those of acute stress but over extended periods of time manifesting in persistent tension headaches, migraines, hypertension, chest pain, and heart disease. 

3. Chronic stress - is the opposite of acute stress. Acute stress comes in short, sometimes exciting bursts, whereas chronic stress is a slow, continual grind experienced in dissatisfying jobs or unfulfilling marriages. Chronic stress is most commonly ignored because individuals become so familiar with it that they forget it is there. This form of stress can manifest physically through violence, heart attacks, stroke, and potentially even cancer. 

Does any of this sound familiar? 

If it does, don't worry, I have already told you there is an antidote: Restorative Yoga. 

Restorative yoga helps combat the ailments that manifest from stress because of the way it engages the parasympathetic division of our autonomic nervous system (ANS). When we are stressed, we are spending all of our time in the sympathetic division of the ANS, in "Fight-or-Flight" mode, or survival mode. When our body goes into survival mode, all essential-but-non-essential-at-the-moment-because-we-think-we-are-dying functions like digestion, processes of elimination, growth, reproduction and repair, (everything governed by the parasympathetic division of the nervous system) are shut down. Restorative yoga encourages you to spend time in the parasympathetic division of your nervous system so these essential functions can re-engage and the body can begin to heal grow and repair. 

One SUPER simple way to help engage the parasympathetic division of your ANS, is by exhaling. 

So the next time you find yourself in one of the stressful situations, close your eyes, take a deep breath in through the nose, then sigh out through your mouth. Observe how the release of the breath makes you feel and repeat this three times.  When you get home in the evening and are lying in bed trying to fall asleep but the dialogue of your day is still on loop in your mind. Bring your attention to your breath, start counting the length of your inhales and exhales, then start to extend the count of your exhales to be a little longer and notice how your body feels as the parasympathetic division starts to engage as you drift into sleep. -

Marcy Hullander - RYT

Check out Marcy's Upcoming Workshop:

Exploring Yin in the midst of Yang 

In our modern, fast-paced society, many of us rarely find time to slow down and, oftentimes, lose touch with ourselves in the midst of all the hustle. This constant state of hustle can lead to fatigue, stress and exhaustion. Learn how to find stillness with an understanding of the Yin and Yang energy within. Join us at the studio for a restorative yin practice where we will explore the koshas, or 5 bodies, chakras, and settle into stillness. Allow yourself the opportunity to reconnect with your true self.  

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