How to De-Stress?
Our nervous system has several branches. One of these branches controls what your internal organs are doing, and it has two parts: the first part is the sympathetic, or “fight or flight” state, which ramps up when you are stressed (and dumps cortisol into your bloodstream). While the second is the parasympathetic, or “rest and digest” state, which controls more day to day functions.
So if we’re trying to get less stressed, we’ll need to harness that “rest and digest” state.
The only problem is these two states are happening automatically within our bodies and we can’t control them.
However, yoga has an answer. The diaphragm, the muscle that we use to breathe, mostly functions automatically, but we can also control our breathing when we want to (like holding our breath underwater). If we practice specific breathing patterns (called pranayama in yoga) we can slip ourselves into that “rest and digest” state and allow our minds and bodies to get some relief.
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