How Restorative Yoga Can Lead to Better Health
Many people believe that to be healthy they always have to move, workout, and do strenuous activity. If they have a joint problem they are told to do some exercises. All of this is fine and probably useful up to a point. And ……
What we need to do as well, or perhaps instead of, is to let our body heal by allowing the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) do its job of healing and restoring us.
The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is the “fight, flight, freeze” part that is most often in the forefront of our daily lives, commonly called STRESS. An overabundance of stress leads to the breakdown of our systems.
Our body is very well designed with all of its systems working in sync to keep us alive and hopefully healthy.
Our upbringing and general thought of our society is that busy equals successful. Of course we know there is more to life than continually speeding up. The technological advances have been helpful to a large extent but also add more stress with the expectation that we need to do more.
If you can relate to this, read on
Yoga students report that they would never be able to “just lie around” for 90 minutes in a Restorative Yoga class. Granted it does take time for the body and mind to calm down which can happen sooner or later. Some have felt lasting pain relief making them wonder how that happened by just lying around.
Well….. when we set up our physiology – the inner workings of the systems, i.e. respiratory, digestive, endocrine/hormonal, etc. in such a way that we are comfortable, warm, left there for a good amount of time, and just Be there many wonderful things can happen. The mind becomes calmer, blood pressure lowers, digestion is enhanced, etc.
From Roger Cole, PhD
“The fight or flight response is self‐reinforcing and self‐sustaining, that is, the physiological
changes it creates stimulate one another and inhibit the relaxation response, so once your
body and mind become partly active, they tend to get more and more active, and then to
stay revved up a long time. Likewise, the physiological processes of the relaxation response
reinforce one another, and inhibit the fight or flight response, so once relaxation begins to
gain ascendance over activation, it encourages more and more relaxation, and it becomes
self‐sustaining. A key milestone in relaxation practice, therefore, is the moment when you
tip the balance from self‐reinforcing activation to self‐reinforcing relaxation.”
I encourage you to learn how to do Restorative yoga poses in class and then try them out at home.