Are you addicted to stress? Do you jump from one challenge to the next, filling every inch of your calendar? Is your workplace fuelled by caffeine and deadlines?
Powered by Stress
All too often in our modern world we rely on our stress response to power us through the day. Those little jolts that we receive constantly, through to the big stress kicks when a major task, problem or annoyance appears, trigger adrenaline and that helps to keep energy high and the mind focused on the task at hand.
Great huh? Maybe, maybe not.
Adrenaline is our body’s fight or flight chemical – designed to help us run away from tigers, not write emails quicker. If adrenaline is triggered in a real life or death situation we would then be running away, using up the chemicals released into our bodies to escape with our lives. When we are simply sitting at a computer those chemicals just lodge in our bodies, causing strain on our systems and building up toxins. So that sharpened mind might well be paid for by aching muscles, a sore back, stiff shoulders and reduced organ health.
Not so great.
A Dose of Dru
At the Om Yoga Show I was chatting with another yoga teacher who’d been doing some research into what people think the benefits of yoga in a stressful workplace might be. A common answer that came back from her respondents was that they were concerned the relaxation element of yoga would leave them feeling spaced out and a bit dippy – not conducive for their high-pressure work life.
This got me thinking because one of the key benefits of doing Dru Yoga during the work day, which is what I teach in a number of workplaces, is the time out that the relaxation brings to your adrenal system, which is depleted by stress.
Dru Yoga can help release those toxins and soothe the adrenal system so that we don’t wear it out. Because, if you use too much adrenaline, it will run out, and then you will crash, utterly exhausted and with no reserves to draw on.
There’s No Other Way, Is There?
By finding another way to sharpen the mind we can actually re-train ourselves to stop relying on the adrenal glands to give us the kick we need to keep going. To stop being addicted to stress.
Yep, when we are so used to stress being part of our lives we can become addicted to it, relying on it to motivate our days, thriving off being able too keep going until the job is done, that is until we realise what damage it is doing to our bodies, and quite often our lives.
So how can you address this before it’s too late and the stress has wreaked untold misery on you?
Relaxation is What We Need
The key is the exact opposite of what most of us have come to rely on – instead of stimulants (adrenaline, caffeine, high intensity exercise) relaxation is a fantastic way of giving the mind and body some time out to rest, recharge and refocus.
Through relaxation we can actually calm the adrenal and nervous system, and replenish them, so they are there for us when we really need them. Focused and calming yoga sequences and postures release toxins from the body to help ease the physical effects of stress. After relaxation the mind is sharper, more alert, quicker to focus and able to concentrate for longer.
If you do find that you feel a bit spacey after class, sit down and eat something. This will make you feel better. And if you’ve already had lunch, a small bit of dark chocolate is a great way to switch back into your working day. See, yoga’s not so bad!
How Can I Relax?
Book now to come to one of our calming classes.
If you want a quick fix to get you started here’s a great technique that you can do anywhere to help you calm the mind and find focus without getting stressed – Alternate Nostril Breath.
How to do Alternate Nostril Breath
Adopt a comfortable seated position, with your back nice and straight
Bring the right hand up to your face with the thumb near the right nostril and the little finger near the left nostril and the middle finger on your brow, between your eyes
Support your right elbow with your left hand
To begin close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale through your left nostril
Then close the left nostril with your little finger and exhale through the right nostril
Keep the left nostril closed and inhale through the right nostril
Close the right nostril and exhale through the left
Keep the right nostril closed and Inhale through the left nostril
Repeat, alternating so you breathe out, and then in, through each nostril in turn. Breathe easily and gently throughout – there should be no forcing of the breath and you do not hold the breath at any point.
The benefits should be immediate. Alternate Nostril Breath will bring a sense of calm and balance, your breath will become deeper and more even, your focus and concentration will be improved and the flow of creativity enhanced.
For me one of the most important benefits of this technique is its ability to relieve headaches, particularly migraines. Master this technique and when you feel a migraine coming on start working gently with the breath; I personally have found that this can stop a migraine in its tracks.