Most of us don’t know how to relax naturally, and it’s something we have to actually practice. In other words, down-regulating the stress response is an acquired capacity. It’s like a muscle: you have to build it over time in order for it to be strong.
During Ann’s Gentle Flow and Slow Flow yoga classes, we practice safe and flowing breath-connected movement, repeating patterns so you can shut your mind off and calm your nervous system down.
Once we’ve moved the spine in all directions, worked all the major muscle groups, and hopefully lubricated all or most of the joints in the body, we practice “actively relaxing” to stimulate the PNS or parasympathetic nervous system; also known as the “Rest, Digest and Heal” response.
Why do it? Because great things happen when we are para-sympathetically dominant. Our breath is full, slow, and deep. The digestive system works well. The body can focus on repair, including reduction of inflammation, tissue repair, and hormone production. Subjectively, people feel fully present and alive. Many report feeling a pleasant softness and warmth, perhaps even throughout their bodies.
Go with the Flow! with Ann this week:
Gentle Flow Yoga – Wednesday at 9:30am YouTube Live
Outdoor Slow Flow Yoga – Thursday at 6pm – Swarthmore
Outdoor Slow Flow Yoga – Saturday at 9:30am – Swarthmore
If you’re practicing at home, please bring pillows, blankets, whatever you have for the best experience during our final relaxation pose. If you’re practicing outdoors, don’t worry, we’ll still make it work!
“The posture of yoga is steady and easy. It is realized by relaxing one’s effort and resting like the cosmic serpent on the waters of infinity.” -Patanjali, Yoga Sutras