Ahimsa

Ahimsa is one of the Yamas in yoga and it means non-harming. To me Ahimsa is about making sure that whatever I am doing, thinking, or saying isn’t harmful to others or myself. It is especially important that over the next 60 days that we are checking in to make sure we are practicing in a manner that serves us and doesn’t hurt us. If on any day we feel like our body needs a rest (and our bodies will need rest), then it makes sense to take a therapeutic or restorative class. That part for me is the most simple. Where it gets tricky is when I am practicing, and maybe I cannot do what I did yesterday or last week (and I may not know why), or I am just tired, then self judging can step in which is harmful, or we look at the person next to us who seems to have the most perfect practice, or we begin to wonder or become annoyed at the teacher because we don’t feel like doing what they are asking. All of this is harmful to ourselves, and potentially others as whatever we are even thinking gets put out energetically to the universe. At the beginning of class, consider creating a mantra or a thought pattern that you quietly say to yourself…something like “I will do my best today without judgment or criticism of others or myself”. Because the root of what Ahimsa means to me is compassion. And you must start with compassion towards yourself, if you hope to be compassionate towards others.

And then, settle in, and enjoy the ride. Know that I am hear to help you in any way that I can.

Stress and the nervous system

What happens to our nervous system, brain, and body during stressful times?

Not every challenging event becomes traumatic because we are pretty resilient. We can be confronted with difficulty but maybe we have support, we’re feeling good about ourselves and we may move through something somewhat unaffected.

When it becomes too much (financial or ongoing stressful or traumatic situations) the nervous system deregulates, things shut down, and the brain can’t manage what’s taking place. When the nervous system deregulates the brain’s threat response is stuck on a constant high alert. We are not designed to stay on high alert all the time. We are supposed to, ideally, respond to the “threat” when it happens, do what we need to do about it and then come back into a relaxation response.

From a physiological perspective, the body remembers everything. So tension from these events are absorbed into the body’s tissues. In order for the nervous system and the body to regulate, the stress (which becomes tension when absorbed) needs to be released.

Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and TRE can help to re-regulate the nervous system so that is stays in a normal or “baseline” range allowing to sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system to be activated as needed allowing us to make our way back to the relaxation response as it was designed to do. Releasing tension in the body also can reduce pain, and, by discharging tension energetically, create a shift in negative muscle patterns.