#SCS: Salute Stress Sayonara

psy·cho·neu·ro·im·mu·nol·o·gy

ˌsīkōˌn(y)o͝orōˌimyəˈnäləjē/

noun

MEDICINE

  1. the study of the effect of the mind on health and resistance to disease.

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Stress happens when the demands of an environment outweigh an individual's adaptive capacity to adjust and cope to stressors. When under chronic or excessive stress the immune system becomes overloaded and fails to function properly, greatly increasing susceptibility to illness. Acute stressors that happen less frequently or less severely increase activity in the immune system, but not detrimentally to the point of exhaustion. 

The PNI Research Society studies the interactions between the nervous system and the immune system, and the relationship between behavior and health. Their efforts promote the study of interrelationships between behavioral, neural, endocrine, and immune processes and encourage cooperation between health professionals in specialized fields. Evidence of the interconnections of mind and body suggest that the development and perpetuation of inflammatory diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and autoimmune disorders) are contributed to one's psychological state. 

The scientific justification of the interrelatedness of the mind and body is helpful to the modern inquirer, but for centuries people have understood the connection between mental and physical states in relation to health. Originating in China and India, practices such as meditation, moving meditation such as tai chi and qi gong, and yoga incorporate conscious breathing and associated movements to restore the body to equilibrium. Homeostasis is a term to describe biological balance and is what the body is striving for, always. These combined physical-mental practices invite the practitioner to go inward, to take stock of their state and contributing factors to that state. Perhaps external forces are inducing stress - through relationships with loved ones, professional peers, or society at large. Where is there room for self-accountability for your health and happiness? 

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggest acupuncture, meditation, and yoga as practices that help restore psychological balance (specifically anxiety, depression, and insomnia), ease pain, reduce blood pressure, and promote a general state of well-being. 
 

To incorporate meditation in your life today, attain these four elements:
quiet space with limited distractions, 
comfortable posture to sit or lay in, 
attentive focus on either a set of words (mantra) or the sensation of breathing, and
open attitude willing to let distractions and thoughts go without paying mind to them.  

The Old Zen saying goes: "You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour." 

To inspire mediation, peace, and generate energy between the mind and body, consider incorporating 10-20 minutes of yoga to your daily rituals. These are a few I have found helpful personally and recommend to anyone looking to let go, get deep, and connect to a higher being- particularly a higher state of self. 
 

Meditation For Inner Peace - Yoga With Adriene

Take a moment to sit comfortably and connect to your breath. Begin with this 10 minute practice. As you get more comfortable with letting go and being alone in your resting states, explore longer time frames. The more you do the more you benefit, but go easy on yourself and remember that it is a practice and takes time. Give yourself this time to sit and do nothing (even though it's not nothing). Put aside the to-do's that'll still be waiting for you when you're done and rest for a second. <3 

After connecting in meditation, link your breath to your movements and invigorate a flow of prana in this 10 minute Sun Salutation practice with Adriene. 

10 min Sun Salutation Practice - Yoga With Adriene 

This can be repeated a few times as you get the hang of it to deepen your practice. Start with 10 minutes every day and see how you feel at the end of the week/month/year. ;) Allow this practice to ignite an inner fire. Connect and let go. 

(Transcription)
begin in downward dog. connect with your breath. pedal it out. plant heels into stillness; find what feels good

bend your knees, walk it up to the front of the mat

forward fold: clasp elbows, hang and breathe into hips; relax neck and head

smile if it feels good

press into feet slowly rolling all the way up; full breath in and out

loop shoulders, plant into feet. draw hands to heart. connect to breath. keep soft knees

inhale reach up

exhale dive forward

inhale lift to flat back

exhale lower to forward fold

inhale step right leg back; plant palms or fingertips

exhale left toes back; root into palms, shift weight forward plank

bend elbows in to sides; slowly lower to the ground and up to cobra

breathe

exhale plant toes and lift hips to downward dog 

inhale lift right foot up to front of mat into lunge

exhale lift left foot up to meet; forward fold

inhale lift to flat back

exhale lower

inhale reach all the way up 

exhale hands together and down at the heart; deep breath in & out

inhale reach up; feel your finger tips and toes

exhale dive forward; heart open

inhale deep breath in; flat back; long neck 

exhale bow

inhale plant hands on palms or finger tips; bring right leg back; open heart 

exhale left leg back; plank; pedal it out

inhale lower to cobra

exhale to downward dog 

inhale bend knees; lift right leg up and into lunge

exhale left leg up to meet right 

inhale halfway lift

exhale bow

inhale reach all the way up 

exhale hand at heartconnect to your breath

inhale reach up 

exhale draw naval in and down to forward fold

inhale halfway lift

exhale bow

inhale right foot back; open heart

exhale plant palms left foot back plank

inhale shift weight forward and down 

exhale roll through cobra

inhale up to downward dog

exhale right foot up inhale

exhale rock left foot up to meet; forward fold

inhale lift to flat back

exhale lower

inhale reach up 

exhale hands to heart

inhale reach

exhale dive

inhale flat back

exhale bow

inhale right toes back; light on fingertips

exhale plant palms, naval up plank

exhale to upward dog or cobra inhale

exhale downward dog

inhale right foot forward

exhale left forward

inhale halfway lift 

exhale soft easy bow

inhale reach all the way up 

exhale hands at heart

soft knees

inhale reach up 

exhale forward fold

inhale halfway lift

exhale bow

inhale right foot back; pivot heel to planted

exhale find your foundation

inhale rise to Warrior 1; strong back leg 

inhale arms up 

exhale down; left foot back

shift forward to plank

inhale lower to your heart-opener

exhale downward dog

inhale right foot forward

deep breath in, deep breath out

send left foot back and pivot on left heel

rise to Warrior 1

inhale arms up  

exhale down to lunge inhale

exhale rock left foot up to meet right; forward fold

inhale halfway lift

exhale bow

inhale reach arms up; slight back bend

exhale hands to heart; connect

 

observe your breath

consider your intention 

feel that prana moving through you 

life is good

find gratitude for being alive today

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Acute stress is often simultaneous with air travel- check out Yoga on an Airplane if that pertains to you. This four-minute video offers moves to get you feeling comfortable in your personal space and loosen up tension in the neck and shoulders. Yoga is all about finding a union between the mind and body, as well as with the environment we occupy. Connect with a bigger picture, let go of what does not serve you, trust, and relax. 

 

Don't let stress negatively affect your health! Stress is toxic, physically damaging the immune and nervous systems, ultimately affecting the quality of life. Take preventative action by connecting mind and body, taking note of any discordance that may arise between them. Listen to your body and trust that its only intentions are to keep you alive and fully functioning at its optimal level. Be kind to your body, be kind to your mind...be your own best bet against stress. Your physical state is in direct communication with your mental state. Honor where you are, now. 

 

At the end of practice, yogis say the phrase namaste, which means "the light in me honors the light in you". Honor your light by listening to your body and shining brightly, while honoring others by seeing them for their best and encouraging them to beam their brightest. 

 

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With love and care, 

Natty D. 

Nat DavisComment