Nervous Wreck? Triathlete? Wanna Go Deeper In Asana?

Does This Scenario Look Familiar?

Often I hear …”When I get more flexible, I will come to see you in yoga”.  If you have ever had an inkling of this thought, please read on…

Last week’s Advanced Studies lesson hinged on the idea that flexibility is a function of the nervous system. Meaning, that when you are stretching, and  your body tells you (sometimes loudly) that you have reached the edge of the stretch, you have not really come to the end of the muscle’s ability to lengthen, you have come the point where your nervous system can no longer handle the work. You have come to the current end point of comfort-ability, familiarity, and sustainability. Think about a pose like pigeon pose, or a seated forward fold (or some pose where you experience resistance). When you come to the place in the pose where sensation  overpowers breath and all of your senses, you (hopefully) back off to where you can breathe with ease and mindfulness. This discernment and mindful breath work at the ‘edge of our ability’ is actually the part of practice that is addressing and soothing the nervous system while simultaneously applying intense stimulus to ‘go further’. It is in this moment that the body, breath, and subtle-body are sitting in ’round-table negotiations’, communicating beyond the realm of intellect and language. The consistent practice of symbiosis of body, mind, breath, Spirit, and intention often allow us to move (possibly microscopically and incrementally) a little deeper into the pose, thereby cultivating more flexibility and a deep sense of calm where we once thought we were at ‘the end of the rope’.  This lesson is applicable not only in asana, but in situations where we may need to cultivate a little bit more flexibility, but are facing resistance (whether our own or some other force’s). Breathe in the face of challenge. Same lessons over and over, right?  It always comes back to the breath, doesn’t it?
Meditation, pranayama, restorative yoga, yoga nidra, yin yoga…these are all practices that activate the parasympathetic nervous system which supports and is supported by quiet, calm, introspection, and the harmonizing of our energies. Interestingly, skillful resting practices are the key element to getting ‘deeper’ into our active adventures. Whether we are working 9-5 (or more), pursuing a triathlon season, engaging in an active asana yoga practice, raising kids in the beautifully hectic world, or simply feel frazzled, over-heated  and ‘had it  up to here (insert hand gesture at forehead level)’…it’s time to address taking care of your nervous system. Take time for breath practice, meditation, and the inner work of yoga to enhance and enrich the outer work in which we must or choose to endeavor. 

Re-Train Your Nervous System. Find Your Inner Peace

Check out these upcoming events I am offering at Yoga Birds.

Pranayama Yoga & Meditation
Saturday, June 30 , 1-5:30pm

 Meditations on Bhagavad Gita
Wednesdays,  July 11, 18, 25, 6-10pm
(asana practice followed by meditations and discussions)

Yoga Series For Brand New Beginners 
(go to week of July 10 at online schedule to sign up)
Tuesdays 5-6pm,  July 10, 17, 24, 31
(due to the progressive learning nature of the series, drop-ins are not permitted)

You CAN retrain your nervous system and reach new depths of peace in whatever you are doing… on and off the mat.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *