Summer Yang and Winter Yin Energy
As we welcome the longer evenings as the clocks fall back we move from the warmth of summer and light nights to colder weather and shorter days. Plants and trees shed their leaves and you too can embrace the cycle of letting go, rest, and rejuvenation. Rather than expecting life to move at the speed of summer, autumn is the time for intentional , and natural unwinding.
In our yoga practice we will be releasing tension through some gentle twisting and noticing and tuning in to our own energy, whether we are in need of increasing upward energy, prana or moving inwards and downwards, apana.
By becoming more attentive to our energy and Prana and enhancing and directing its flow through the practices of yoga—we can invigorate the body and mind and develop an expanded inner awareness (interoception) and open the door to higher states of consciousness.
In yoga we really are the orchestrator of our own practice . Yoga is Union…..when we tune in to this vital life force we then find ourselves taking yoga off of our mats into our lives.
Stress Awareness Week 1st-5th November
By now, most of us know that stress is a serious problem.
Long-term stress has been linked to depression and anxiety and can lead to physical health implications such as heart disease and diabetes,
Modern day life and the addiction to stress – The Stress trap
In the 21st century we have become a society that mainly functions through the sympathetic nervous system ( our fight, flight, freeze). We are forever switched on with 24 hour news and social media encouraging this engagement.
Unfortunately, being stressed actually creates more stress as the amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for emotions, survival instincts and memory) can become so hyper aroused that this heightened state of stress becomes the default setting.
Someone who is exhausted may still find it difficult to relax and do nothing because their default setting is ‘doing’, scrolling, watching TV, engaging in anything to keep busy.
When we practice yoga and those qualities of interoception (the sense of the internal state of the body) we can ‘feel’ our energy and what feels good for the body and make better choices for our long term quality of living, taking the yoga off of our mats into our lives.
Sleep to de-stress
As we approach the winter months, and hopefully no lockdown this year, we can become over busy with socialising and working. Although this can be fine in moderation, we need to be aware of the negative impact of stress on our health and immune function.
In the short term, cortisol (a hormone produced by stress) helps to fight infection, but when its levels are continuously high, it can have a negative effect, suppressing and weakening the immune response towardsd potential infections, delaying recovery and even increasing risk for chronic inflammatory disease.
Getting good quality regular sleep helps our levels of stress stay in check. Professor Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford, says: “It really helps if you’re on a wind-down curve some while before you go to bed.”
Some great tips here from the NHS.
Combatting the toll of chronic stress on your body involves creating a toolbox of resources to help, such as yoga, mindfulness and mediation. Even a bath after a stressful day. Coming out of a constant ‘doing’ state and into ‘being’.
As well as practicing yoga, my own toolbox includes adding pockets of quiet time in the day, getting out in nature, walking (or swimming), however slow or fast and getting back into the habit of 12 rounds of nadi shodhana (alternative nostril breathing) before bed.
Spend time with people that lift you. (And less time with those that don’t!).
yoga as therapy
Having personally found the benefits of managing wellness with yoga I’ve also just started a yoga therapy course on how stress affects the body and how yoga can help (for autoimmune conditions, chronic fatigue, burnout and long Covid).
I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn. Always a student.
See you on your mats to find what you’re in need of this season. Your yoga, your practice, your life.
Much love, Karen 🙏🏼