The power of a short and still yoga practice is unprecedented. These are trying times, and many of us need space to clear our minds, relax our bodies and calm our nervous systems. If you feel like you are burnt out, run down, exhausted, confused, conflicted or tired, this series is designed to help you train your brain to calm down, to regain your strength, to reclaim your breath and relax your body. Our collective goal is to shift from the fight or flight experience of the sympathetic nervous system to the rest and digest of the parasympathetic nervous system. Each week will begin with a calming breath-work exercise followed by a short gentle yoga practice.
Every Wednesday this May from 7:00pm-7:45pm we will come together on zoom for a yoga session dedicated to calming down your nervous system. These classes are live on zoom, but available recorded following class. You will also receive access to my online “Meditation Vacation” series of recorded videos.
May 5th – Dirgha Pranayama with Yin Yoga
May 12 – Alternative Nostril Breathing and Yin-Yang Flow
May 19th – Pure Breathing with Restorative Yoga
May 26th – Yoga Nidra with Yin Meditation
“The catalyst for both stress and anxiety is a primal, hardwired neurological response to a potential threat. When something presents a challenge, whether it’s an event, memory, or a general sense of shouldering the weight of the world, your sympathetic nervous system—the nerves that control your “fight or flight” response—sends signals to your brain to flood your body with stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These shorten your breath, fire your muscles, sharpen your focus, and jolt you into action. That’s normal, and helpful if you, say, happen to come across a mountain lion on a remote trail, or are a sprinter at the starting blocks. But when you remain in a heightened stress state—for example, when you have to take care of a sick loved one for months or years—the potential health consequences start to add up.
So how do you regain balance? A growing body of research shows that practicing mindfulness and breathing more slowly can tame sympathetic activity and balance the nervous system. “When you take a deep breath, you tell the body to relax,” explains Erin Byron, co-author of Yoga Therapy for Stress and Anxiety and an Ontario, Canada–based psychotherapist and yoga and meditation teacher. Slow, mindful breaths activate the parasympathetic nervous system—the sympathetic nervous system’s counterpart. When the breath slows, the parasympathetic nervous system in turn slows the heart and sends a relaxing message to the nerves, inspiring a “rest and digest” response, explains Byron. Several yogic tools encourage us to slow our breathing and stay present, including gentle asana; meditation; some pranayama (breathwork); and rest in the form of Savasana (Corpse Pose) and yoga nidra, or “yogic sleep.” – Yoga Journal – https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/yoga-sequences/yoga-sequence-train-brain-relax/