As we’ve also discussed, exercise — movement of the body’s muscle tissues can be key in helping to eliminate harmful stress hormones from our system, allowing for the body to work optimally, removing toxins, stretching the muscles, tendons and ligaments and improving circulation.
Instead though, many of us are doing more driving, less walking — more sitting, less standing and more stress, noise and screen time with less time in quiet reflection and in nature. All of these things keep us in Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) mode stress or the body’s fight or flight response and out of Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) mode, the time the body uses for healing and rejuvenation, time to rest, digest, process, and stimulate the immune system. The overall effect can mean a steady decline in overall well-being and eventually in your health.
For many of us, being at a steady but low-level of stress feels so normal that we’ve forgotten what true relaxation feels like or even how to achieve it. The good news is that even though the SNS mode is easily and commonly triggered, there are triggers you can practice for more effective and a greater number of PNS mode time periods throughout your day.
As we’ve noted before, greater body awareness is the greatest gift we can give ourselves — knowing what it feels like to be in a truly relaxed state, knowing when something in your body doesn’t feel right, paying attention to how we hold and use our bodies and what the effects are on a daily basis, are all part of this awareness.
One of the most effective ways to achieve PNS mode is through a practice like restorative yoga. The poses in restorative yoga are something that once you learn them, you can do on your own, everyday.
Here, in an informative video by Yoga Masters, Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman (that we found easy and helpful in its instruction) you can learn a few of these easy to-do poses that have even been adapted for the workplace:
As always, check with your physician first if you are pregnant or have any health concerns.