Recently my husband, a very active middle aged man, discovered his cholesterol was too high. He immediately considered dietary changes, and while I admit that some of his food choices (at work) need improvement, I also pointed out that if our diet at home was an issue, then my cholesterol should be high too. My feelings were that stress is the main cause of this reading - even though - i might add, he is not a 'stressed out' person. Studies have shown how a continued activated stress response which results in increased levels of cortisol can in fact increase our cholesterol read here I should add here that, like my husband, simple things like shift work, parenting demands, and everyday life can easily contribute to our stress response.
2020 sure has been an interesting year for us all. Sometimes I just sit back and wonder how much more can we take. Droughts, fires, lockdown, a pandemic, information and misinformation, or just plain confusion, black lives matter, all lives matter, pedo rings, Beiruit blast, Mauritian oil spill (I mean WTF how does this happen) - and you know what? Many predict that we haven't seen the end of it. Not for a little while yet. I just think about even the turmoil of not being able to travel to overseas family - missing weddings, supporting our loved ones during times of sickness or death. All these things we once took for granted.
So we are at this crucial point in time where our perspectives are changing, just as is the world around us. We are inviting new ideas and concepts. We are pushing boundaries. We are breaking down barriers. We are uncovering lies and deception. 2020 sure feels like a purge and a half. And I find myself now making a very conscious choice to align to my centre, to detach from my egocentric opinions on what is, and to ground into possibility, acceptance, and truth. My question to you is - how are you managing these unprecedented times of change?
One thing that is important is that we recognise when we enter into a stress or fear based response. The practice of pratyahara in yoga, for example, could be choosing to abstain from watching the news or engaging on Facebook, and hence preserve your energy for creating other positive opportunity in your life. I began to notice that every time i jumped on Facebook I could literally feel my sense of vitality drop into a feeling of heaviness, especially around the heart. Fear of the unknown, and for me personally - watching the divide of the masses as we all react to ideas and concepts, people un-friending friends, online bullying, really strong opinions (because we all tend to think that we have the truth)... I just got over it. Thats not where I want to be right now. Theres enough stress going on in the world right now - don't need another person in it too.
As a Yoga Therapist on the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland, I often feel a sense of gratitude for where i've landed myself during this time. Since life began to return to 'normal' many people in the wellness sector have experienced a surge in business as conscious individuals choose to improve their health, align to their higher Self, and restore their soul.
Restorative yoga is a delicious practice that deeply bathes the nervous system and activates your parasympathetic response - the rest and digest healing response of the body. It is a practice of yoga that I have been offering for several years now, and it served me well when I went through my own journey of adrenal burnout, traumatic life events, and stress. For the days when I've struggled to motivate myself to get on the mat, or out of bed, some restorative yoga can be the link between nothing, and something! However, we cant reduce it to this practice only to be called upon when we lack a little spark. Use it to settle your energy, calm your restlessness, align to your physical and energetic centre, and most of all, use it to break the chain of stress activation in your body.
At home, I sit here about to give you a simple restorative yoga practice you can do in your lounge room, and realise that my husband is all over it. He's got legs up on the lounge, head supported, blissing out on the floor. Simple and effective, and available to us all at any time. If you like a group practice, maybe a restorative workshop will set the tone. Your nervous system and your whole endocrine system will love you for it!