by Chrys Muszka and Donna Wilding, Guest Bloggers
Due to everyday stresses, high-pressure responsibilities and busy schedules, we spend most our time in the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). It’s within this system that our “fight or flight” response resides, causing anxiety and over stimulation. In the past, when our fight or flight system was responsible for helping us survive a potential tiger attack, the fight or flight response would be released by either fighting or ‘flighting’ (leaving fast) the situation. The actual fight or flight was a release. However nowadays, our modern life has taken away the need to fight or flight and therefore, we’re in a constant state of stress without release. As a result, the ability to relax and sleep become difficult.
This is where yoga comes in. When we practice yoga, we gently move ourself into the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) — the rest and digest mode. In the same way that our body and mind need food as nourishment, they also need rest in order to digest that nourishment. This type of rest is different from sleep, but can be just as rewarding and can come from a good yoga practice. Restorative yoga is particularly suited for this and will allow us to sink into our body, while calming the mind. It’s at this point that we’re graced with a good night’s sleep.
Restorative yoga is a specially gentle style that addresses the difficulty of finding relaxation and sleep. It’s a style that uses many props such as blocks, straps, and pillows to open the body gently, while allowing the mind to rest in a meditative state, promoting us to move into our PNS. By doing so, we slow down the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) and can exist in a calmer state where the ability to sleep is enhanced.
During the first few yoga classes, it’s normal to feel challenged. Moving from a state of high stimulation to stillness can be tough, however, know that things are happening on a deep level. Over time, the more we practice, the more the body and mind learn to calm and appreciate relaxation.
The deep benefits of yoga will not come overnight. Yoga is truly something that needs to be integrated into your life to notice the affects, especially if sleep is challenging. Remember that whatever reason you’ve been called to try yoga, it has been a long time coming. Likewise, it may take awhile for you to make changes. The amount that you put in, will be the amount that you get out.
We’d love to share more with you and teach you how to put yourself expertly to bed. Join us on a retreat in Mexico, November 10-17th, 2012 where each night we’ll offer a restorative class right before bed. Come and feel the difference for yourself. www.yogasherpa.com/SpiritedLife
We’d also like to invite you to download a complimentary copy of our ebook, Spirited-Health-Tips-Sleep-Better-Naturally.
With love for a good night’s sleep, Chrys Muszka and Donna Wilding.
Both based in Toronto, Canada. Chrys Muszka and Donna Wilding have 20 years of yoga experience, combined. Sharing many teachers along their individuals paths, they’ve trained in Anusara, Hatha, Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga. They are two individuals who strive to share their experience of yoga and holistic healing to their students, empowering each one to lead a more mindful, and authentic lifestyle. You can find them online at www.chrysyoga.com and www.donnawilding.com.