The untapped Gem
Our culture has learned to live Chronically stressed.
Habits and fears of modern day life such as health, children, work, family, conflict, relationships, trust issues. over-working, over-doing, worry, and general 'not enoughness' generate the physiological response of fight or flight. Adrenals over working to constantly pump stress hormones. The body loses benefit from Nutrition because digestion and illimination are effected. Sleep is disturbed and the body's natural capacity to heal itself is comprimised. Conditions such as high blood pressure, ulcers, immune disfunction, reproductive problems, depression are more likely to be triggered by the lack of balance.
The best Medicine for Stress is Relaxation. To be deeply rested. A state where there is NO movement, no effort and the brain is quiet. Even during sleep we can experience muscular tension and activity due to dreaming so deep rest is more beneficial than sleep.
Hetbert Benson MD (researcher in stress reduction) coined the phrase 'relaxation response' describing the physiological and mental responses that occur through conscious relaxation. He described this as 'a physiological state, characterised by a slower heart rate, metabolism, rate of breathing, lower blood pressure and slower brain wave patterns'.
Restorative Yoga is an enjoyable experience of deep rest that can relieve the effects of chronic stress.
Using props to completely support the body so it may let go and relax. Poses gently move the spine in all directions supporting the yogic wisdom that wellbeing is enhanced with a healthy spine.
As we spend so much time sitting and standing, blood and lymph fluid accumulate in the lower extremities and inversions which reverse the effects of gravity enables fluids to be returned to the upper body and heart function is enhanced
A posture such as Viprita Karini, legs up the wall, according to physiobiologist, Roger Cole Phd, alters hormone levels thus reducing brain arousal, blood pressure and fluid retention.
Lets start with introducing the Powerful Trio.
SAVASANA - Basic Relaxation Pose
Lay down on the yoga mat with a bolster or pillow under the knees and support under the head and neck, cover the eyes with a light cloth or eye pillow.
Benefits - releases muscle tension, reduces fatigue, improves sleep, enhances immune response, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, helps to manage chronic pain. Stay in pose 5 - 20 minutes.
SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA - supported Bound Angle Pose
The pose of Surrender.
Lay on the yoga mat on a propped up bolster (use block or rolled blankets to prop up bolster or pillows)
Bring the soles of the feet together and let the knees fall out to each side. Place a rolled blanket under the thighs so there is no strain on the inner thighs holding legs open. Relax arms down to mat or rest on blankets if chest opening is too strong. Cover eyes with light cloth or eye pillow.
Benefits - Opens chest and heart, opens pelvis, physiologically allows for deep opening and letting go, improves breathing, helpful during menstration and menopause. Stay in pose for 10 to 30 mins
Viprita Karini - Legs up the wall
The pose of inner Strength
Bring yoga mat to a wall, place a blanket or bolster against wall, roll onto bolster or blanket and put legs up the wall. Support neck if needed with blanket and cover eyes with light cloth or eye pillow.
Benefits - reduces the systematic effects of stress, quietens the mind and refreshes the heart and lungs, great for varicose veins, fluid retention and swollen legs.
Not recommended if experiencing eye pressure, hiatal hernias, heart problems, sinus infection, spondylolysis, during menstration, after third month of pregnancy.
Otherwise an extremely beneficial pose to practice daily for 5 to 20 minutes