Our nervous system function happens automatically, going back and forth between the two poles of sympathetic activation and parasympathetic relaxation. In a healthy and resilient nervous system, we go between the two as needed, defaulting to the relax and heal parasympathetic system most of the time. That balance can be disturbed when we have experienced trauma, cumulative stress, and consistent overstimulation. When that is the case over time, our bodies ‘learn’ to stay in a sympathetic stress reaction most of the time, and our physical, emotional, and mental health all suffer. The symptoms of imbalance can be the inability to settle your mind and be present, difficulty sleeping, poor digestion, high tension levels, and reactivity…and in the long term, disease.
Fortunately, our bodies have the capacity to change and learn. With the right practices and healing attention, we can heal and retrain the nervous system to default to parasympathetic ease. We can reclaim our bodies’ natural healing capacity and balance and restore our ability to respond appropriately and effectively to what is happening in the moment. Our world is rife with uncertainty, and so much is being asked of us…compassion, patience, courage, and more. These are all capacities of the nervous system; unless we find a base-line of ease and presence, we can be reactive and unclear, and drop into a downward spiral of frustration and fear.
Our bodies have, indeed ARE, a natural feedback system that directly responds to whatever is actually arising in the moment. If we are in stress mode, we literally are disconnected from a great deal of that helpful feedback. To be able to tune into our body-felt sense we need to be more present than that habitual stress reactivity allows us to be. To fully bring all of our brain/body/heart intelligence ‘online’, we need to be able to feel safe and somewhat calm – a function of the nervous system. Blessedly, we can tune, nourish and restore this balance with practice, which in turn benefits our health and relationships…and everything else!
I hope you will tune into my upcoming class to learn more, https://yogameditationmentor.com/yoga-and-meditation-continuing-education-and-advanced-studies. The class will be full of helpful information, tips, and practices to help you nourish your nervous system – and support your response-ability, your balance, and your capacity to regulate in your own system and co-regulate with others. It’s so important in our times to meet the changes and energy around us with intelligence and openness…and be adaptive, creative, and heart-centered going forward. We can do this..together!
Check out the short breath and guided meditation practices on this site (home page, blogs, etc) as well…they can help to take you in the direction of a balanced nervous system. I hope they are helpful 🙂