IS SOMETHING LACKING IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE????
Are you a hardcore yoga practioner,especially the more physical oriented vinyasa,power,ashtanga ,hot yoga etc?
Do you swear by healthy eating and is extra careful to take the right diet?
And still do you feel you are not getting the desired results,what your practice should bring?
Most probably,what is lacking is one more major component for a good health and that is “REST”.
The autonomic nervous system plays an essential role in keeping the body’s internal environment (temperature, salt concentration, blood sugar, oxygen and carbon dioxide level in blood, etc) in proper balance, a condition called homeostasis.
The Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system is in charge of unconscious bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure and digestion. It’s split into two parts: the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions. The sympathetic system (SNS) kicks in when you’re under stress — your heart rate and blood pressure shoot up, your breathing accelerates and your digestion grinds to a halt. Often called the “rest and digest” system, the parasympathetic division (PNS) turns off the stress response, returning your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure to normal.
The sympathetic division, is the emergency system. It prepares the body to put out energy and to protect it from effects of injury. It shuts the gut down, speeds up the heart, increases blood pressure, dilates (makes bigger) the pupils of the eyes, makes more glucose (blood sugar) available in the blood for energy, etc. These reactions as preparation for fight or flight (running away).
The parasympathetic division, is the “housekeeping” division. It acts to replace and recover from the activities of living. Its action is (almost always) the opposite of the sympathetic division. It activates the gut for digestion, slows the heart rate, decreases the blood pressure, etc.
Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are vital to our health and survival. However, for our bodies to live with optimal health and proper function for as long as possible, there must be a balance between the two. If there is a miscommunication between your brain and the impulses that promote sympathetic responses, your body will be functioning in fight or flight mode far too often and for far too long, and this can have negative consequences on your overall health.
The Stress Response
For our cavewoman ancestors, stress likely meant an immediate physical threat. The sympathetic nervous system is well-suited to respond to short-term emergencies, hence its nickname, the “fight or flight” system. Today, however, you may be faced with stressful situations that are not so quickly resolved: conflicts with your boss, financial worries, even traffic jams. When stress becomes a way of life, your sympathetic nervous system doesn’t get the rest it should, which can contribute to health problems like diabetes, depression, autoimmune diseases, heart attacks,strokes and even weight gain.
The digestive system and the overall metabolism gets affected when the SNS remains activated for a prolonged time,the body gets busy to fight the impending danger and the digestive system takes a backseat.This situation on normal circumstances should be reversed but due to today’s lifesyle we are always in an heightened and activated SNS state which causes the imbalance in internal health and leads to the various lifestyle disesases which we modern man suffer from,weight gain being one of them.
What is the solution?
The only solution is to reactivate the PNS and bring about homeostasis in the body,to relax and to renew and there are various ways in which we can do this,YOGA being one of them.
A balanced yoga practice can help in turning off the sympathetic system and turning on the parasympathetic, it gives your heart and circulatory system a break. Yoga practice lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. It improves heart rate variability, a marker of cardiovascular health and a sign of increased parasympathetic activity. Stress plays a role in insulin resistance and diabetes — another risk factor for heart disease. Yoga lowers blood glucose levels and reduces your risk of diabetes.
Yoga has been shown to alleviate job stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. It can help with migraine headaches, as well. There are several theories about how yoga exerts its calming influence on the parasympathetic system. Some researchers point to yoga’s emphasis on slow, deep breathing, which stimulates the parasympathetic system. Others credit its focus on mindfulness and re-training the brain. Yoga poses that massage your body and relax your muscles also help stimulate the parasympathetic system.
But if all this is not happening with your yoga practice,it is time we gave a thought to our practice.We should make sure that we have a balanced practice and the yin and the yang,the solar and the lunar energies are present in our practice.For example after a good sweaty and heating vinyasa practice make sure it is balanced by a proper savasana.other way to do this is if we practice yoga for 5 days,out of those 4 days if we have a strong physical muscular practice maybe the 5th day we can complement with a restorative/yin practice or a slow hatha practice with lot of breathing.
The idea is to bring a beautiful balance between the two parts of the nervous system,the SYMPATHETIC and the PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM,so that a beautiful HOMEOSTASIS(internal harmony) is maintained in the body.
ANAHATA YOGA ZONE