My first holiday abroad in 18 months

I have just returned from my first holiday abroad for 18 months.

This is a longer interval than I am used to, due to having hip operation date last year.  For me this was a massive challenge, as I am someone who travels abroad at least twice or more a year.

In those 18 months I have left a very stressful job and did my intensive teacher training for Restorative Yoga which is now my only job, how fantastic. But what this has made me realize is how certain situations can cause so much stress to our nervous systems, and being in busy airports and cramped on a plane for longer than expected made me experience this. Something that I hadn’t noticed happening before when travelling. Which I am guessing now that I am absorbed in the world of encouraging relaxation of the nervous systems brought that awareness.

A little info on how stress can affect us. Stress is normal, everyone feels stressed related to work, family, decisions, your future and much more, stress can be physical and mental. In response to these stresses your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, it’s your body’s reaction to threat or danger, the job of the Sympathetic Nervous system (SNS).

During this reaction, certain hormones like adrenalin and cortisol speed up the heart rate, slow down the digestion and shunting blood to major muscle groups, as if in danger, which is resulting in an over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), this is meant keep us safe from harm. However, in modern life we are triggering the SNS so frequently that this is leading to disease in the mind and emotions and disease in the physical body.

It affects our senses, our memory, judgement and behaviour, as well as suppressing our immunity, creating fear and negativity and the inability to concentrate.

In Restorative Yoga we aim to be in the Parasympathetic Nervous system (PNS) state. The PNS produces feeling of relaxation. Its job is to restore, rejuvenate, heal and conserve energy. It is primarily concerned with relaxation; it quietens the body and physiologically things slow down and the body recovers even at a deep cellular level. The PNS can also be called the Rest- Repose system. Often, we link the PNS to compassion and the SNS to suffering for and within the body.

Maybe we need to try become more aware of situations that make us feel stressed, how it makes your mind and body feel – how we can try to prevent where possible.

I believe we can go through life sometimes not connecting enough to how we feel and how certain situations can trigger our SNS. So maybe find the time to be more compassionate with ourselves and try to live our lives more in the PNS state.