Anxiety Happens: Yoga for the Nervous System

With the pacing of modern life - we have more devices that save time and less space and time to use them.

This paradox in itself can lead to anxiety and confusion. One of our greatest luxuries has become an unscheduled day.

We live in a unique time, wherein most adults either have high level jobs, potentially high stress jobs, or are business owners themselves.

Labor industries are harder to make a living with and therefor tactile, physical work is declining. Computer work is increasing, even for people like myself in body-centric fields.

As a result we will have a generationally new challenge of meeting the needs of the nervous systems in unique ways. With cognitive yoga and complimentary, physical yoga we can combat the stressors of everyday living.

It is assumed by medical professionals that 60-90% of doctors visits are stress related. Hypertension, Diabetes, Obesity, Eating Disorders, Diseases of Inflammation, Allergies and Asthma to name a few.

The future of Medicine, Health and Beauty industries will owe their success to the indigenous forms of healing as scripted in so many of the ancient yogic texts. I truly believe this in my bones, it is why I created an entire teacher training program to anchor the power of yoga lifestyle for my students.

In the face of next generation stress we will need to fall back to the ancient traditions of the world.

Every year science affirms more useful applications of yoga, especially for the Autonomic Nervous System and corresponding mental health. We have exhausted our compartmentalized, mechanistic forms of healthcare and unfortunately many people don’t look deeply into yoga sutras, ayurveda or yoga UNTIL there is a health crisis of some sort, mental or physical.

One of the main philosophical strongholds of Vedanta (Yogic Philosophy) is that a mature person is able to handle the facts of life objectively. Not without care, but with a mature disapassion. This attitude of glad acceptance to the facts of life is both a practice and an immediate relief to the nervous system.

This attitude of glad acceptance of the ups and downs of life is a sort of prerequisite to further yogic study and also an immediate gain for the health and emotional life of the individual.

The ability to get what I want without elation and to get the opposite to what I want without deflation is a learned skill and also a vision.

This VISION of Vedanta is an interesting threshold in yoga that assumes the student has a direct and developed relationship to a higher power. For without the ability to subjugate my will and recognize that I ,in fact, am not in control of every aspect of my life - I will surely hold on to control in all subtle ways. I will essentially hold onto stress.

When we build a relationship to a higher power and recognize that the facts of my life are arriving in perfect accordance with particular natural laws - we find an immense, immediate relaxation and curiosity.  The Law of Action and Reaction, Gravity and even Relativity are examples of immutable laws that impact the facts of life.

The more I study and observe life - the more I realize everything is coming to me through a network of immutable laws of cause and effect. Sometimes I see the cause or understand WHY things are happening, sometimes it is out of my range of knowledge or perception - which requires a sort of “letting go and letting God” mentality.

Simply acknowledging the power inherent in the creator and nature itself I am able to relax a little more - into the facts of life.

Without this vision, of natural order and attitude of surrender to the fruits of action - I become more and more brittle, maybe even angry at the seeming  imperfection of what comes my way. At times I may feel I am in control, but really speaking I KNOW that is impossible due to laws of creation.

The only things I can really control are my actions and attitudes.

I am a simple created being on a journey of learning to take powerful, embodied actions while staying in devotion, or right relationship to a higher power. Without this element of surrender, openness and humility  - I become easily stressed, distracted and overwhelmed by the lack of control inherent in being alive.

I almost wish it was as easy as a few postures and herbal supplements, but to get under stress we will want to get under our relationship to will (ability to take actions aligned with our desire and purpose) and powerlessness (our inability to control the outcome of those actions).

There are very powerful shapes and breathwork within our physical Asana practice that can assist in supporting the nervous system and arriving us at a place to absorb the Vision of Vedanta more fully and with a regulated Nervous System.

Jenna McDonald