Yoga makes us feel incredible. Our mind is clear, our breath is deep and our muscles are toned and flexible. One of the main reasons people all over the world practice yoga is to relieve stress and anxiety but where does all that stress stem from? How did we get to the point where we feel under pressure and full of tension? Why does yoga remove this stress, or better yet how does it? It stems from the saying “we are in fight or flight mode”.
The fight or flight mechanism is our inborn, primitive reaction to stressful situations, whether it be internal or external circumstance’s that bring it on. When we feel threatened by anything our nerve cells fire and chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones) release into our system making our rational mind take the back seat and putting us into an extremely stressful and taxing experience where we either want to run or fight our way out. What happens is our eyes dilate, our digestion shuts off and our ability to rationalize situations and perceive the world with clarity is deeply curbed. Most people in the world are living in a form of “fight or flight” which has been linked to chronic disease and burn out. We often seek yoga classes to help with our stress relief. In fact it’s the most common thing people tell me when they come to my yoga class. Here is how to shut of the “fight or flight” response in you yoga practice and daily life.
THE SIMPLE WAY
Lie down with your ankles crossed and your wrist crossed let the palms of your hands touch.
Whenever you cross the right and left side of your body and get the nerve endings of your palms to touch it shuts off the “fight or flight” mechanism in your body. Close the eyes and place the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, which additionally calms the central nervous system. Breathe through your nose deep and slow. When you breath through your nose you are tapping into the olfactory gland and the base of your nasal passage and when oxygen hits that gland it tells your body to calm and surrender.
Do this for 5 minute or as much as you like.
EAGLE POSE GARUDASANA
Start in chair pose cross your right knee over the left knee and try hooking your right foot behind the left ankle (if you cant hook the foot no biggy) reach your arms forward taking your left elbow under your right elbow and intertwine your arms and get the palms of your hands to touch. Breath evenly for 5 breaths then switch sides.
These are just a few tips and examples of how yoga changes our body and perception of the world from being stressed to being receptive.