Yoga for Managing Stress and Preventing Chronic Illness

Yoga for Managing Stress and Preventing Chronic Illness

According to a study conducted by Medibank, Australians are feeling more stressed than ever. In 2007-2008, 3.7 million Australians stated their health was being impacted by stress; and in less than 10 years, this number spiked to 4.9 million in 2016-2017. This is a staggering figure, particularly when you consider the impact of stress leading to chronic illness.

Out of “Fight or Flight”

Most of us are aware of the body’s “fight or flight” response. It’s a state in which our body’s nervous system reacts to stress or danger, and is also known as the “sympathetic nervous system”. Our prehistoric ancestors’ “fight or flight” responses would have kicked in quite often, when running away from lions, tigers and bears, as the body needed to make physiological changes so as to prepare their bodies for action.

Your body’s stress responses include:

  • Heart rate increases
  • Body is flooded with adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormone)
  • Pupils dilate
  • Muscles tense up
  • Energy is redistributed to essential functions like the legs for running

Into “Rest & Digest”

So when our bodies are in “rest and digest” Continue reading “Yoga for Managing Stress and Preventing Chronic Illness”

Restorative Yoga Child's Pose Variation

Benefits of Yin and Restorative Yoga

Benefits of Yin & Restorative Yoga

There are countless studies, articles and opinion pieces declaring that yoga is good for you. It combines movement with breath, helps us connect with ourselves and gives us some philosophical food for thought, both on and off the mat. But with so many different types of yoga out there to choose from, what makes Yin and Restorative so special?

Yin and restorative yoga both offer similar benefits:

  • Deeply relaxes the body
  • Stills the mind
  • Recalibrates the nervous system
  • Promotes the body’s capacity to heal and boosts immunity
  • Balances out emotions
  • Develops ability for self-inquiry
  • Cultivates a sense of self-love and self-compassion

Differences between Yin & Restorative Yoga

Many people use the terms Yin and Restorative yoga interchangeably, possibly due to the fact that they are both passive forms of yoga, but their philosophies are somewhat different.

Yin yoga is a challenging concept to describe in a short paragraph, as it more of a philosophy than a style of yoga; but essentially it follows a Taoist tradition, incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine meridian theory to the asanas (physical poses). In Yin yoga we play with the concept of an “edge”  which has a powerful impact on opening us up to self-inquiry, a concept that is an integral part of the Yin & Juice yoga philosophy.

The asanas are floor based and held for 3-5 minutes to get the most therapeutic benefit for stretching the connective tissue around joints and the deep layers of fascia. The use of asanas combined with awareness of our breath, helps to promote and regulate the flow of Qi (pronounced chi) through specific energy meridians. The concept of Qi is very much intertwined with the yogic concept of prana, or life force.

Restorative yoga is a passive style of yoga which promotes active relaxation. More importantly it teaches us how to surrender and let go. We use lots of props such as bolsters, blankets and eye pillows to completely support the body during the floor based poses. It’s basically burrito yoga. These asanas are held for a minimum of 5 minutes (in some cases for 10-15 minutes to get our bodies into the optimum state for conscious relaxation). Continue reading “Benefits of Yin and Restorative Yoga”