In our day-to-day life, we all face many situations where quick action is required at our mind, body, and brain level. For example, milk is about to spill while boiling in the pan, baby about to pee while without diaper, online session about to end while still few important points to be conveyed in the meeting, and so on.
Taking care of these stressors, needs activation of Sympathetic Nervous System, release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, increase in blood pressure, and heart rate. This entire stimulation helps one deal with the stressors and bring situation under control. But, once the situation is under control, and if one does not slow down, stress may affect the person at mind level and psychosomatic diseases like hypertension, asthma, and diabetes may start surfacing.
How do we slow down our systems, so the stressors do not lead to these diseases? How do we train the mind to go into relaxation mode after these stimulating situations? The answer is Yoga!
There are many yoga practices which alternate between activation of Sympathetic Nervous System and Parasympathetic Nervous System and lead to slowing down our emotions.
Asanas like Mandukasana or Frog Pose (Figure 1) stimulate the digestive system with constant pressure on abdomen and at the same time let the blood flow towards head region and relax the brain.
Picture Credit – Bindiya Jinadev
Relaxation postures like Makarasana or Crocodile Pose (Figure 3) activate the thyroid glands and at the same time relax the mind by improving the secretion of pineal and pituitary glands.
Pranayama or breathing exercises like Bhramari or Humming Bee breath create vibrations in the head region causing reduction in the heart rate.
Bandhas like Jalandhar bandh or Chin Lock (Figure 2) activate the pineal and pituitary glands and calm down the mind.
Meditation techniques like Aum meditation and Chakra meditation slow down the breathing rate and slow down the mind.
These practices train us into being more mindful about the breathing pattern, enhance the awareness and thus the body learns to go into relaxation mode after the needful stimulation phase is over.
The highest benefit is achieved through the cyclic meditation where one goes through cycle of stimulation and relaxation in a 30-minute process of activating sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system alternatively.
Stay tuned to know more about this technique in my next blog.
Until then keep practicing Yoga on a daily basis!
Therapeutic Yoga Teacher