Stress is a word that is used frequently in our everyday vocabularily, but often the real physiological effects – too much of it- has on our bodies and systems are overlooked. Life is pretty hectic for most of us and without some effective stress management strategies we run the risk of ‘frying’ our nervous system and having chronically raised levels of cortisol in our bodies that dampen the other essential systems we need to function (reproductive, digestive etc..).
Whilst avoiding stress can be hard, and impossible at times, the key is to manage it, to activate the relaxation response so those cortisol levels can return to normal. There are many ways to do this, and it should be something you enjoy.
One strategy I use that I recommend highly is the practice of Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra – or Yogic sleep – is a deeply restorative practice that soothes the autonomic nervous system, reduces tension and anxiety and can have beneficial effects for mental and physical health. I was first introduced to this practice by Uma Dinsmore Tuli when we were training together on Alexandra Pope’s Womens Quest Apprenticeship.
One of the best things about Yoga Nidra (and there are many!) is that it is EASY!. All you need to practice is to lie down (preferably on a hard surface), with a pillow under your knees and a blanket to cover you and listen! Uma has very generously provided a great variety of Yoga Nidra recordings for FREE on her Yoga Nidra Network site. You can listen to this guided relaxation process daily and rest deeply in a very short space of time.