You are well aware that today’s modern lifestyle is a killer. The daily stress resulting from our current routines, demands and expectations is more than many can bear. That is why stress is the leading cause of workplace sickness, the root cause of many illnesses and conditions, and a contributing factor to the why, when and how severe we get sick and/or experience disease.
You know what it feels like when you are experiencing stress, it is the ‘fight or flight’ response. As the body prepares for real or imagined danger your heart beats faster to increase oxygen flow to the cells, blood pressure increases, unnecessary bodily functions such as digestion shut down, breathing becomes shallow, muscles tense in anticipation of action, and blood flow to vital organs is decreased. Large amounts of cortisol and adrenaline are produced. The body is ready to fight or run away from danger – fast.
This is ok for certain situations but in our modern world stressors typically do not require a fight or flight action…physically fight your boss and you’ll end up in jail. So the stress keeps coming and your body keeps preparing with no relief in sight. Staying in this state of stress long-term is harmful to the body. Digestion is compromised and you may therefore experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms. Elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline eventually weaken the immune system, and weaken the body through exhaustion and sleep problems. Allergies may increase as well as physical pain. You may find yourself having difficulties concentrating, memory problems, excess anger, anxiety and depression. Your body is operating mostly out of the sympathetic nervous system.
To achieve balance you need to shut of your sympathetic nervous system (which would have naturally occurred after fighting or running) and spend some time operating out of your parasympathetic nervous system or the ‘rest and digest’ nervous system.
Consider adding yoga into your fitness routine. Because of yoga’s practice of mindfullness, its fluid motions, and deep breathing it has proven to be successful at reducing stress, tension and fatigue and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Although yoga is not your traditional intense workout it is a total body challenge with a focus on functional strength and muscle endurance. It also challenges cardiovascular condition, builds core strength, improves balance and flexibility.
Yoga also fits into Healthy Habit’s emphasis of posture and alignment, the root of lasting physical changes.
Regarding fascial fitness, many yoga postures can be used to stretch the fascial lines.
As we head into the New Year make sure your New Year’s Resolution includes looking after yourself better. Think of ways to reduce stress in your life, strive for balance. Try some yoga!