Yoga poses for your parasympathetic nervous system? Whoa Rachel, enough with the fancy words already! I know, I know but listen up, the parasympathetic nervous system is something we should all be trying to understand right now because this world is absolutely and undeniably CRAZY. So hang in there with me while I give you a little look into your nervous system!
If you were paying attention during high school biology then I am sure you heard the terms “fight or flight” and “rest and digest”. Well, they were talking about your nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for your fight or flight response and you guessed it, the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for you rest and digest response.
Most of us spend our time with an active sympathetic nervous system. Things that contribute to this are stress, constant multitasking, and overstimulation. Sound familiar?!
These two systems work together, so that means when one is active the other isn’t. If you’re constantly fighting or flighting (?), then you’re not allowing your body to rest and digest. Not allowing yourself to really rest causes a whole bunch of other problems. So how do you actually tap into the awesome benefits of the parasympathetic nervous system?
Stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System
Two main things that can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system are deep breathing and slowing down. Once we settle our bodies into a slower pace and bring some real awareness into our breath, we begin to move into a space of rest and digest. Our breath is one of the body systems that we can actually control. Once we begin to slow it down our heart rate and nervous system follows. Want a few more tips on breathing, check out this post! I know this all sounds simple enough but #momlife during political unrest and a global pandemic and you may need a few suggestions on how to do this. So roll out your yoga mat, stay in your stretchy pants, and grab some blankets and pillows.
Restorative Yoga Poses for your Parasympathetic Nervous System
Get that forehead down and your eyes closed, this gives you a protected and safe feeling which has an instant calming effect on the brain. Add in some big deep breaths and a kid screaming “Mom!” in the background and its a regular tropical vacation.
Reclined Bound Angle
I use ALL the props for this pose so feel free to grab the cushions off your couch or even your nursing pillow to get as comfortable as possible.
Wide-angle Seated Forward Fold
If my husband ever finds me in this pose he backs away slowly. It’s a telltale sign that it has been a day.
Don’t feel like you have to come into the actual stretch if its just too intense. You can get soooo much benefit just by putting your forehead down on something grounding and solid (the floor, your desk at work, the kitchen table!) and closing your eyes.