It is official. The silly season has begun. I have my first staff Christmas party coming up this weekend, and am astounded that the end of the year is here and we are about to click over into a new era, 2020!
Reflecting on the year that has been, there have been numerous significant moments where, even though I teach yoga, my own mental well being has not been at it’s best. Being a Yoga Teacher is an interesting conundrum, so busy class prepping and running to different locations to teach, that often my own personal practice can be left behind. I have had friends presume that I am actually doing Yoga while I am teaching it………not true in any way.
If a Yoga Teacher, who has all the tools and tricks of the trade, can fall behind in their daily routine and practice, imagine the millions of participants who, if they are lucky, get to 1 maybe 2 classes per week. Does a couple of 1 hour yoga classes per week lead to lowered stress responses once out and engaged in everyday life? You would be the only person that can answer that question……
OVERSTIMULATED AND WORN OUT
Most of us would agree that we rely on substances a little too heavily to ‘create’ energy in our life. There is the 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee we may have, the sugar experience that presents itself in multiple foods, the alcohol we may use to unwind at night time. Add this to a lifestyle that is constantly on the go, running kids around, long hours in the office, being constantly available by all means of communications, ensuring our love life and friendships are nourished. It is no wonder that we can get to the end of the year and literally fall into a heap, only to realise we put our hand up to host Christmas lunch this year!
Noticing our lifestyles, there is no surprise that our nervous system is over worked and a lot of us remain in the stress response vs the rest response. Our nervous system itself is built around balancing two opposite actions. The sympathetic nervous system works with fight or flight whereas the para sympathetic system works with relaxation, digestion and regeneration. The two parts are meant to work harmoniously which supports moments of alertness and restfulness, contributing to a balanced experience of wellness and mental health. However, reading this, most of us would probably feel that we live more in a state of alertness, panic and worry than restfulness. This is where a practice that assists in balancing the Vagus Nerve would be hugely beneficial to the nervous system as a whole.
WHAT IS THE VAGUS NERVE
There has been a lot of talk lately in the yoga world about this Vagus Nerve or the Polyvagal Theory which it is related to.
For those in the dark about this nerve pathway, the Vagus Nerve is the longest of the cranial nerves, (of which there are 12 in total) and controls your inner nerve centre. It joins with the parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs, and digestive tract, and oversees a huge amount of crucial functions, communicating motor and sensory impulses to every organ in your body.
Research has shown that most people, at some time, will experience a vasovagal response, (decrease in heart and blood pressure) due to a stressor or overstimulation of the vagus nerve. One of the main functions of the Vagus Nerve is to regulate the nervous system. However, if the Vagus Nerve is over active from our experiences in life, then its ability to do its job is greatly hindered.
It is normal that most of us do not have ample opportunities to process stressful or traumatic events. As these experiences build up, they can lead to physical tension and even restricted breathing patterns that form the basis of our posture, movement patterns and overall sense of self.
Chronic stress and unresolved trauma will interfere with the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic functions of your nervous system. Living in a world that is over-stimulating and triggering for the sympathetic nervous system, many of us need access to tools that will assist us to engage the parasympathetic nervous system on a daily basis.
The vagus nerve has the ability to interrupt stressful influences upon the sympathetic nervous system. So practices that stimulate the vagus nerve have a calming effect on your body and mind
This is why I felt that Christmas time would be a perfect opportunity to offer these tools in a therapeutic workshop, From Fragments
to Wholeness. This workshop is designed to offer practices to soothe the Vagus Nerve, support and restore the nervous system and to set intentions for 2020 with a deep Yoga Nidra (psychic sleep) to conclude. I’m positive that your participation in this rejuvenating workshop is what your nervous system has been waiting for all year
The workshops will work with chanting and pranayama techniques specifically designed to ‘massage’ the Vagus Nerve. We will then create deep restorative practices that support the nervous system and whole body, and intend to bring the body back to homeostasis. Finishing the afternoon with a Yoga Nidra where you will have the opportunity to plant your seeds of intention for 2020, and also leave you feeling like you are completely recharged and rejuvinated
A perfect time after the Christmas rush and just before New Year, I would love to extend this invitation to invite you along on Saturday 28th December from 1 – 3pm at the gorgeous Yoga Lyfe studio in Alber Park
Please click here for all bookings and info