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’