Written by Jennifer Triassi, Yoga Instructor and Young Living Essential Oils Independent Distributor
We’re now in the midst of what’s called “the most wonderful time of the year!” But truth be told, as our day planners fill up with all sorts of commitments between now and 2015, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can leave us feeling overstimulated and stressed! Not so wonderful at all.
"Stressed out" is an all-too-familiar sentiment of the season, and unfortunately, its effects shows up in our bodies!
Stress and our physiological response to it isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it’s been responsible for the survival of the human race for thousands of years!
Consider our ancestors: one minute they’re gathering berries and the next they’re running from the saber-tooth tiger. When faced with the danger of their demise, they fought or they ran! And in order for them to out-pace their predators, heart rate, blood pressure, mental alertness and muscle tension increased. At the same time, systems that were not immediately important——such as digestion, elimination, growth, repair and reproduction—-shut down. If they survived, things went back to normal. A great system, right? Considering we’re all here to talk about it, I think so!
Fast-forward to today. We still have that ancient body with the same programmed response, but we’re living with different stressors. Instead of the saber-tooth tiger chasing us down, we deal with other stuff. While it’s usually not life-threatening, it’s still stressful nonetheless. It’s just that it keeps coming…one thing right after another…that we are living in a chronically stressed state. And “the problem” is that our ancient bodies still respond the same way. The adrenals continue to pump the same stress hormones. Some systems kick into high gear, while others slow down.
When we are chronically stressed, our health is negatively affected. Our body’s ability to heal and recover is compromised, and this can lead to various ailments such as high blood pressure, back pain, immune dysfuction, depression, among other things.
This is where yoga, especially restorative yoga, can help!
Relaxation is the antidote to stress. In the midst of our busy lives, if we can take time to relax our minds and bodies, we can help to elicit what’s called the “relaxation response,” a physiological state characterized by a slower heart rate, metabolism, rate of breathing, lower blood pressure, and slower brain wave patterns. When we are relaxed, our body’s systems can function optimally to support our overall health.
When we practice restorative yoga, we use a variety of props, such as blankets, bolsters, blocks, and straps to support the body, providing total relaxation. Poses are held for as little as a few minutes, and sometimes as long as 20 minutes or more. By using props for support, flexibility is increased passively. When I describe my restorative classes, I often refer to them as “structured naps.” Students are awake, but in a deep state of relaxation.
Sounds wonderful, right?
Join me for my upcoming workshop “Holiday Restoration” at Willow Tree on Saturday, December 13th 2-4pm. We will begin with a 60-minute flow class focused on more grounding and introspective postures, followed by 30 minutes of restorative poses and guided meditation. I will be sharing some of my favorite essential oils throughout the practice. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to create either an energizing foot scrub or relaxing bath salts to take home with you.