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It’s All About the Nervous System: Try Yoga to Relieve Stress

It’s All About the Nervous System: Try Yoga to Relieve Stress

We’ve all been burned out and exhausted and not sure how to cope at some point in our lives. Whether it is looming deadlines, emotional demands, climate change, political battles, family drama––the result is the same. Sometimes juggling all the challenges and all the wonderful gifts in our lives can feel overwhelming and we’re not sure how to feel better.

Here’s how: Yoga can help lower your stress levels and your blood pressure because it’s an excellent practice to calm your nervous system. 

By combining physical asanas or postures with Pranayama or controlled breathing techniques, yoga can have a profound impact on your nervous system. When we are stressed out, our adrenal glands are working overtime and we’re often in a state of “fight or flight,” which doesn’t allow for adequate rest and recovery. Over time, if we fall into this type of pattern of constantly being in heightened over-active mode, our bodies and minds begin to suffer.

As you’ve heard over and over, yoga offers a three-pronged approach to improving your life: physical, mental, and spiritual. While taking your usual sweaty Vinyasa or Power class will definitely impact your mind and heart, sometimes slowing down a bit and taking a more mellow class can give you more of the mental stress relief you’re craving. 

Our parasympathetic nervous system is designed to soothe and lower our stress levels. Certain styles of yoga, like Yin and Restorative, emphasize postures that can reset your nervous system in minutes. Gentle Hatha classes also focus more on unwinding and relaxing you. Of course, you’re releasing tightness and tension from your muscles, but you’re also soothing your brain. 

Asanas like Vipariti Karani (Legs up the Wall) and Paschimottanasa (Seated Forward Fold) are effective in creating a relaxing effect. Any poses where your legs are extended up overhead or where you’re in a forward fold, encourage not just self-reflection, but also quiet your mind quickly. Signals travel to your brain and impact your body, mind, and heart. 

This week, we’re bringing you four classes designed to help you unwind, relax, and reset. These slower classes will give you your yoga buzz and also help you sleep better, manage anxiety and stress throughout busy days, and allow you to shift your system back into balance. Remember, rest is just as important as work! 

1. Josey Prior - Settling into Pigeon

2. Keith Allen - Evening Stress Relief Yoga

3. Tana Pittman - Kundalini: Be Radiant & Stress-Free

4. Kylie Larson - Yoga to Unwind

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