Our health is vital to our overall well being.
Apart from being dependent on our genes, it is also greatly affected by the amount of stress we are under. This in turn, can be reflected by the foods we eat, whether we exercise regularly and whether we relax, rest, sleep and socialise all in moderation.
Modern day living seems to create more pressure for us to live under, this can have a huge impact on our stress levels. When living in a tense state our body responds in a certain way, called the “flight or fight” response. Over a longer period of time it is this that has a detrimental effect on our overall health, our body, our mind and our emotions - upsetting our body / mind connection and our body’s natural balance.
When we are this way, it is our nervous system that reacts first by telling the hormonal glands in the brain (hypothalamus and pituitary glands), to inform the adrenal glands to produce the hormone adrenalin. Other sympathetic nerves in the body secrete nor-adrenalin, at the same time – with other hormones being secreted directly into the blood stream. In short, this is the beginning of the body being fuelled for action, to deal with the threat, (the feeling that caused the stress), or to run away from it. So ones heart rate increases, breathing becomes fast and shallow, blood pressure is raised, metabolism is faster as adrenalin and cortisol rush through the body.
These actions are to name but a few, in the way we react to the flight and fight response. Even when we calm down a little it is often not back to a relaxed state but to a state of simmering stress. Too much of this stress for too long suppresses our defence mechanism, our immune system, leaving us more open and vulnerable to minor ailments or even disease. It would therefore be much healthier if we could recognise that to be stressed when necessary is acceptable but that we need to learn how to return to a relaxed state. It would be a far better option if we were to be the master of the controls of our body by making wise choices in certain areas of our life. In that way we can give ourselves a longer, healthier and happier life.
Yoga can help in many ways, especially Hatha Yoga practise, which involves learning how to relax, breathe well, exercise safely, strengthen self discipline and eat well. Yoga is a way of calming the mind, strengthening the body, and balancing the emotions. It gives a sense of well-being and a sense of belonging to, or connecting to life. It originated in India more than four thousand years ago and ever since it began, many have gained benefit from its practice.