In the current world-wide epidemic of coronavirus, I want to present to you some research and facts about the most important thing for you to know to stay healthy and keep your immune system strong: reduce your stress level and increase your allostatic load.
What is an allostatic load? – it is the amount of demand that you can handle before good or healthy stress (eustress – stress that results in enhanced function and productivity) becomes the bad or unhealthy stress (distress).
When tension is balanced with equal amount of relaxation, the body creates a healthy immune system and functions optimally. When there is a chronic excess of tension not balanced by relaxation, most people adapt to this state of imbalance and call it a norm. When left unchecked this leads to long-term imbalances and eventually disease. The body learns to adopt to this excess of tension and you might not even know that you are living in a state of chronic tension until symptoms of weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression or other symptoms begin to show up.
What happens with immune system when the body is in a chronic state of stress?
- Acute stress (such as when there is a physical danger present) boosts immune system, however chronic stress weakens and kills white blood cells.
- Chronic stress compromises ability to produce antibodies and fight infection.
- Chronic stress can cause immune system to fire indiscriminately – even at your own body causing autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), Guillain-Barre syndrome, etc.
- Studies show that positive emotions strengthen the immune system and negative emotions weaken it. (source: John Medina, Brain Rules. P. 177)
- Habitual stressful thoughts can contribute to imbalances in the body. We can also use this principle to our benefit by learning to consciously focus our thought towards ones that create optimal condition fro the strong immune system. However, this change in thought is not easy do in the usual waking state, but much easier to accomplish in a more subtle meditative state.
There are 2 factors that lead to creating stress for the body:
1) External factors are life circumstances such as diet, exercise, sleep and physical danger (epidemic of coronavirus, for example).
2) Internal factors are related to how you react to life circumstances such as through fearful and worrisome thoughts and actions, resistance, control, or acceptance.
The problem with the internal stressors (such as worrisome thoughts and fears) is that they will stay around and continue to create access tension in the body as long as you continue to engage in them, so they will continue to exert stress on the body weakening the immune system indefinitely. This is something that is not easy for us to stop engaging in because it happens habitually and we have little control over our thoughts.
This is not bad news because there is a powerful solution to this. By changing how we deal with our internal state, we can change our allosteric load so that it will take more demand for us to be tipped into distress.
Yoga Nidra is sleep-based guided meditation that uses a series of structured awareness techniques that optimize physical restoration and interrupt the process by which we engage in stressful thoughts, which leads to a change in your allosteric load!
I just returned from 11 days of teaching this profound meditation technique at the Amrit Yoga Institute and I want to share with you a few opportunities in Bloomington to learn to create a profound relaxation response in your body and mind by simply laying down or sitting in a comfortable position and following facilitator’s voice. This practice teaches you to develop different relationship to stress producing droughts and helps prevent the mental patterns that result in the build-up of excess stress in the body. It works at the root to prevent stress from coming back.
This Sunday, my talented and amazing husband will be leading Blissful Rejuvenation Secrets 2-hour mini retreat with the main practice of Yoga Nidra focused on strengthening of the immune system to stay healthy and balanced in the environment of global fear and physical threat of disease.
Next Month, April 18-19, Gabriel and I will be offering a 2 day Restore your Balance Retreat. We created this retreat from our personal experience of how important it is to give ourselves time to retreat from the habitual everyday activities and patterns of thinking and doing to shift into a state of feeling and being where we can see a bigger perspective of our lives and make powerful shifts in the direction we want to move in. Going on several retreats each year is what keeps us fresh and inspired about our service in the world. During this retreat, we will have multiple Yoga Nidra sessions to create a profound state of recharge and relaxation, as well as gentle therapeutic yoga that is appropriate for every body and every mind looking to restore balance in the body and mind. We will be providing nourishing lunches on both days, as well as lots of guided practices to support you in finding your calm and peaceful place to feel inspired and re-ignited to live life with purpose and passion. We will also be creating vision boards during the second day that will represent different areas of your life that you want to strengthen and give more attention to.
Lastly, this summer I am offering a 40-hour Yoga Nidra Facilitator Training for those of you looking to deepen your understanding and practice of this sleep-based power-meditation. We already have a nice size group coming together and I would be so very happy for you to join us. You can join with a friend for an extra savings. Go HERE for more details.