“Yoga and Mindful Meditation, what are these, and WHY do we suggest the implementation of it all of our lives?”
Yoga when in correct form for our body guides us to quiet our mind, and as our mind quiets we become in touch with our bodily sensations. With all the current distractions of TV, computers, smart phones, ringers, and our negative self thoughts we are often not aware of our body and thoughts.
Yoga teaches us to be in touch with bodily sensations and how to respond mentally. It releases a calming effect on our body; even when we are doing a difficult pose, we are breathing deeply. By repeating poses and learning how to connect our mind to body, we are creating a muscle memory that will be beneficial in increasing strength, flexibility, and mindfulness.
Yoga is believed to have originated in India over 5000 years ago and first mentioned in their sacred texts named the ‘Vedas’.
We at Chews Your Health believe Yoga’s subtlety brings harmony to the mind and body. As we are ever evolving in science we find the benefits.
- Maintains and increases flexibility.
- Builds strength in all muscle groups: maintain function and protect from injury
- Lower stress: yoga allows you to not only better your body, but also your mind
- Increase metabolism and promote weight loss
- Yoga increases blood flow not only to your heart, but also to your gut
- Yoga is a great to add to your daily workout routine of cardio and strength training.
The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) consists of the Sympathetic nervous system and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)
The Sympathetic Nervous System
Our “fight or flight” response has been activated far too often in the past. These kinds of stressors prompt the body to release large amounts of stress hormones like cortisol. Over the longer term, chronically elevated stress levels lead to your internal organs becoming depleted of the raw materials that they need to produce key hormones and neurotransmitters. This is what we call adrenal burnout or adrenal fatigue.
Your body goes through a number of changes when the sympathetic nervous system is activated.
- Your heart rate increases
- The bronchial tubes in your lungs dilate
- Your pupils dilate
- Your muscles contract
- Your saliva production is reduced
- Your stomach stops many of the functions of digestion
- More glycogen is converted to glucose
The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)
The parasympathetic, or “rest and digest” system is a much slower system that moves along longer pathways. The parasympathetic response is responsible for controlling homeostasis, or the balance and maintenance of the body’s systems. It restores the body to a state of calm and counterbalance, and allows it to relax and repair.
The body undergoes several specific responses when the parasympathetic system is activated.
- Your saliva is increased
- Digestive enzymes are released
- Your heart rate drops
- The bronchial tubes in your lungs constrict
- Your muscles relax
- The pupils in your eyes constrict
- Your urinary output increases
To activate your parasympathetic nervous system, learn what truly makes you feel relaxed. For some, this means engaging in a hobby, hanging out with friends, doing some light exercise, or even just getting out into nature. Others find that techniques like yoga, deep breathing, meditation or massage help.
Whatever it is, pay close attention to your feelings and thoughts, and try to recreate that mental and emotional state whenever you are under stress.