In Aum Share Blog Post

 

Many of us move through this world in a rush rush rush – do do do manner. We live in our sympathetic nervous systems without even realizing it.  What IS the sympathetic nervous system and what does it do?  The physicality of the human body is amazing.  Our internal intelligence functions without any awareness from our conscious or thinking self.  I think we can all give a good “Thank Goodness” right here because if our internal intelligence didn’t breathe for us some of us would be in a really bad way!

The sympathetic nervous system, triggered by the sense we are in danger, sends cortisol and other stress hormones coursing through our blood. We know this feeling when someone pulls over in front of us unexpectedly on the road and we think there will be an accident.  Our breath becomes shallow or stops, our hearts pump faster and arteries squeeze tighter to send more blood to the muscles faster, our lungs open up to accommodate more oxygen, muscles tense for action and our physical senses become sharper.  All of these are very useful when warding off danger.  The thing is, most of us are not in danger when the sympathetic nervous system is triggered.  Cortisol is not designed to be consistently ’on’ in our bodies.

This is where the parasympathetic nervous system comes into the picture.  This is the system that tells us to rest and digest.  Our heart slows and arteries relax, reducing blood pressure. Our breath becomes longer and slower, and normal blood flow returns to the organs. Digestion, which goes into very low gear when we are stressed, comes back online. You can sleep more easily and your systems can rejuvenate themselves.

Living in the stress response will damage your blood vessels which can lead to a variety of disorders including high blood pressure, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, diabetes, kidney disease, not to mention heart disease – number one killer of women in the US.  The digestive system becomes out of balance which leads to irritable bowel syndrome (ibs) or constipation from the release of the stress hormones epinephrine and adrenaline.

For two years in a row, the annual stress survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association has found that about 25% of Americans are experiencing high levels of stress (rating their stress level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale), while another 50% report moderate levels of stress (a score of 4 to 7).  This means 75% of people are living at a moderate level of stress ALL THE TIME.  This has got to change.  We have to stop and evaluate our lives, the conditions we are putting our bodies and souls in, and do something different. This is a journey requiring courage and fortitude.

Here is a starting point – The Metta Meditation. 

The Metta Meditation is drawn from Buddhism and is a fine practice for any of us. I discovered it years ago and have found it to be my cornerstone.   Finding stillness, retreating within, and developing compassion.  

Here is how it goes:
Pause and close your eyes.  Bring the attention to the breath
Begin with loving yourself, unconditional love and acceptance.
Silently say: “May I be happy and free from suffering.  May my words and actions contribute to my happiness and release of suffering.”

Breathe.
Move to loving someone you feel fond of and close to.
Silently say: “May you be happy and free from suffering.
May my words and actions contribute to your happiness and release of suffering.”

Long slow breath.
Continue and love someone you see in your world but have no relationship with.  Someone you pass at the grocery store, someone who practices on their mat next to you.
Silently say: “May you be happy and free from suffering.
May my words and actions contribute to your happiness and release of suffering.”

Lift your collarbones as you inhale, relax as you exhale
Now love someone you feel negative or cross with, unconditional love and acceptance.
Silently say: “May you be happy and free from suffering.
May my words and actions contribute to your happiness and release of suffering.”

Practicing this meditation, this deep seated kindness toward self and others, can be the first step in an ever expanding practice of self care.  

Metta meditation is without any obligation or expectation.  It is a simple practice of devotion.  No need for yoga clothes, a special 75 minute period of time to do your practice, silence, a special altar.  It is part of the fabric of our lives.  Pause, close your eyes and repeat the metta meditation – as you wait in a line, before a meal, while hanging out with friends or family.  

As we struggle through too much to do, not enough connection in our lives, this is one way to heal the troubled mind, to free it from its pain and confusion.  Begin building the re-connection to joy, practice metta meditation.


DeLora is a ERYT-500 yoga teacher, a Certified Yoga Therapist specializing in the pelvic floor,DeLora Frederickson has received extensive training in order to teach yoga to students at all stages of life.  DeLora is a Level 2 Kundalini Yoga Teacher, a ERYT-500 Yoga Teacher, completed Sadie Nardini’s Evolution Vinyasa Teacher Training and is a Certified Yoga Therapist.

For children’s yoga, DeLora graduated from the renowned Radiant Child Yoga Program, Levels One and Two. She also completed Prenatal & Postnatal Training with Om Mama and Leslie Lytle.  She has also completed Judith Lasater’s Relax and Renew Restorative Yoga training.

DeLora lives and loves in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  She has been a seeker all her life. Taking time to play and be creative is one of DeLora’s favorite pastimes.  She finds life is an opportunity to discover joy in nature and refill her cup through her relationship with others.  DeLora finds herself fortunate to be able to teach yoga, creating sacred space for people to experience transformation, all over the world.

Click here to check out DeLora’s Aum Nation page.

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