Good Health Choices - - BE INFORMED -

Add in some restora­tive prac­tices

It’s usu­ally around this time of the year when the wheels be­gin to fall off. Maybe you’ve been go, go, go for the past eight months and now you’re wak­ing up tired and strug­gling to get through the day. Maybe through win­ter, all your mo­ti­va­tion walked out the door on you and you’re feel­ing flat be­cause your body feels slug­gish. For many peo­ple, the an­swer to this is to start an (often reg­i­mented) ex­er­cise regime de­signed to get the body mov­ing and the en­ergy flow­ing. For some, this might be just what they need. But don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the power of restora­tive prac­tices.

We’ve been trained to be­lieve that if we want to lose weight we should go for a run. But if you are wak­ing up tired and strug­gling to find the en­ergy to get through your day, chances are you’re al­ready in sym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem (SNS) dom­i­nance. Your SNS is the arm of your ner­vous sys­tem that’s trig­gered by stress — you may know it as your fight or flight re­sponse. It’s in­ti­mately linked to your sur­vival. Our bod­ies are not sup­posed to live in fight or flight, but far too many peo­ple these days do. Far more ef­fec­tive ex­er­cise for SNS­dom­i­nant peo­ple is what I call the more ‘yin’ (gen­tle, as op­posed to ‘yang’ go, go, go) forms of ex­er­cise, such as tai chi, qi gong, restora­tive yoga, Still­ness Through Move­ment or any ex­er­cise that is done slowly and while be­ing con­scious of the breath. These types of ex­er­cise sig­nif­i­cantly as­sist in ac­ti­vat­ing the parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem (PNS) – the rest, di­gest, re­lax, re­pro­duce arm of the ner­vous sys­tem. Once the ner­vous sys­tem is bet­ter bal­anced and able to swing eas­ily from SNS to PNS ac­ti­va­tion (rather than stuck in SNS-dom­i­nance), body fat is read­ily burnt.

How­ever, be­yond body fat, restora­tive prac­tices can help us to cul­ti­vate more calm, boost our en­ergy and qui­eten a busy mind. Ac­ti­vat­ing the PNS can help us to face our day with more re­silience and not get so worked up about things. So for the month of Sep­tem­ber, chal­lenge your­self to in­clude more restora­tive prac­tices into your weekly rou­tine.

‘ac­ti­vat­ing the pns can help us to face each day with more re­silience’

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