Stress and Yoga
STRESS… Is it ruining your life?
Living in our modern world is awesome, fun, fast paced and let’s face it… stressful!
What creates stress in your life as a yoga teacher? We aren’t impervious to stress, we can meditate all we want, but can we avoid it?
Stress is a mentally and emotionally disruptive condition that is created in response to adverse external influences as seen in the dictionary. It can actually be a good thing for health and safety but also can wreak havoc on your mental and physical bodies.
I know you’re saying, how is stress good for me? Well, it sends more oxygen to the brain so we can be sharper, quicker, and helps us solve problems easier. But if we are constantly getting bombarded with stress in our lives then we have an excess, and as good yogis we know excess is unbalanced and just plain old overwhelming sometimes.
We want to eliminate chronic stress as much as possible as it causes many negative effects in our lives. It negatively affects our immune, endocrine and nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, muscular and reproductive systems. This pretty much sums up the whole entire body! Now why would we want anything to mess with our whole entire being?
Let’s get a little deeper!
The release of cortisol over long periods of time creates inflammation and prevents histamine secretion. This can actually delay our healing process and can increase chances of viral infections. On a good note, a little stress can actually heal wounds – but now think how many wounds do you get in your life vs chronic stress creating inflammation.
Endocrine & Nervous System:
Adrenaline & cortisol. Your 2 great friends that play go go go in the fight or flight responses. Now this is great if you are getting chased by a bear and need to run 10s faster to save your life, but do we need constant pumping of these chemicals in our adrenals? NO. If there are symptoms of chronic stress, your CNS (central nervous system) never shuts down or goes back to normal. This can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia to name a few. As yogis we can battle this over production of adrenaline and cortisol by practicing asana, using mulabhanda and meditating.
Respiratory & Cardiovascular System:
Deep breathing. Slowing down the inhales & exhales is a great way to combat the effects of chronic stress on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Stress causes us to breathe faster and more shallow, causes your blood vessels to constrict and raise your blood pressure. By relaxing and practicing pranayama as well as poses like sun salutations, we actually can help the heart slow down and work less.
When we are under chronic fight or flight our bodies, the liver in particular, produces extra sugar. If you have excess sugar and your body can’t use or transform it, then diseases like diabetes can creep into your life. Stress can also cause ulcers, nausea and/or vomiting. It can also prevent absorption of nutrients which can cause additional symptoms of being tired and not feeling “well”
At the end of the day our yogic practices create a sense of overall calm in the body and mind. Savanna is a sure way to allow our bodies to rest, our muscles to let go of tension and to realign our minds to let go. With a daily practice of meditation, pranayama and asana, guaranteed your body will be more prepared to battle stressors! Also understanding that stress is not caused by external sources is HUGE! We must not let negative situations or people get to under our skin- literally!
There are many tools to combat chronic stress, we just need to use them!
And for those of you who are in dire need and rescue from STRESS Monster – I am here to help. Whether it’s stress because you are stuck in work, or dietary, or physical… I am like ghost busters. Keep me in mind for the necessary unplug for the retreats I do, the classes I offer and totally virtual consultations as well!