Stress Test

How do you invite your deep regenerative breath?  How do you invite that breath of Joy? How do you cultivate equanimity when there’s mixed bag of various emotions that does not serve you to make positive choices?

If it’s a heartfelt invitation, it’s got to come from the … Heart – Recalling the lovely tea  –  a beautiful tea gathering to celebrate many things but mainly host’s partner regaining his health enough to travel to some exotic land to bring back all these delicacies …to share … rose petals on the honeyed rim of tea cups; specially aromatic tea both herbal and black  … Seems like only couple of months ago, he was hospitalized fighting for his life BUT today, after the proper care, he is a picture of glowing health surrounded by loving family.  Bad things happen; good things happen; sometimes it seems like series of bad things and there’s darkness BUT … not losing faith that better days will come again. Let’s be heart-strong than head-strong when we engage in self-care.

I can think of handful of people in the 30-60 range in the last few years – all seemingly vibrant people with similar scary life changing moments of failings.  Usually dehydrated and during a run or some unsuitable workout or … striving too much with little regularity.  Just listen to your breath and notice your breath pattern. Let that inform you.

This is not to scare anyone to say one should become sedentary and never be “out of breath” or not challenge ourselves – no, quite the opposite, we need to exercise to strengthen and work up a light sweat (perspiration is a wonderful way to detox our pores and flush out our overall system – just drink alkaline water infused with electrolytes and eat mineral rich foods) on regular basis and investing the time and effort in the kind of exercise that’s wise; that’s suitable for the condition that day, that time.  Hard workout is fun; we love the endorphins released especially for those who cannot sit still.  Intensity works for some. But not for others.  Or not during certain days and times of the day …

Essential to always round out the exercise and balance with an off-set, what’s called a more “YIN”, cool down, stretches and mindfulness; to really bring down the heart rate into the state of OMMMMM.  It’s been shown scientifically that practice of Pranayama (breath awareness/control/regulation) is one powerful tool to improve cardiac function, de-fog and increase clarity, reverse negative mindset to transport us to that sparkled place of distilled consciousness, quieting the fluctuations and agitations of the mind …as yoga is defined by Patanjali in Yoga Sutras, a bible for every serious yoga student.  It affects our nervous system and our heart health, ultimately creating new neural pathways, improving our neuroplasticity.  Its’ not an anecdotal but an evidence based practice is what I came to learn.  Feel better; feel lighter. Find bliss:) For real.

Therapeutically, it is THE practice of healing the heart in a pill-less form we all have in our inner medicine cabinet  – the CALM, the BALANCE, we can cultivate with training – so there’s the interval pumping up to a spiked HR and then, settling back down, slowing down the heart rate, the pulse and … lowering the blood pressure so there’s less stagnation – both for the blood flowing through our arteries and veins as well as the fluids flowing in our lymphatic system.  To reconnect with that deliciously juicy deep state of knowing.  Also I would observe and heed and HONOR the life transitions and not live in denials – at mid-life there’s that rumored, what some seem to call “midlife crisis” – that realization that the days are numbered and one wants to relive youth by sometimes going to the extreme… I think, though, there’s another peaceful path – by pre-midlife -30/40, it’s time for better self-care: maybe there’s heart palpitations, vertigo, extreme fatigue, panic attacks from anxiety, just plain anxieties or maybe PTDS having undergone some trauma … it’s not that uncommon and we can be open about it  – some form of manifestations we are grateful to witness  … because we will take care to look into it rather than ignore:  perhaps a stress test with EKG could ascertain one’s heart health … Yet some, being in a rat race, cannot take the time out or choosing not to take time out in favor of pseudo-self-care.  We thank our body when it acts up – let’s heed those messages and consult the medical profession if not for anything but for peace of mind. It’s really a waste of time to lament how one used to be able to do this or that – putting on years is not about one loss after another but rather, one ray of hope and one gem of wisdom after another.

So yes, I practice vinyasa flow as an exercise for the most part but … gravitate to the more spiritual quieter gentler yoga practice that helps one (me:) to really tune in and listen to (my) one’s body … better. And this sets the tone for the rest of the day or evening … or give you a mid-day break to re-center so we/I can be responsive but not reactive; kind not annoyed or irritated – when we are patient with ourselves, we can be patient with others too.  Many of us are so connected outwardly and care so much about the external affairs but forget to connect with our own deep inner yearnings and desires.  In this over revved world, we need to get the internal affairs in order. There’s no need to ignore or suppress the inner needs that manifests in variety of ways.  It’s up to us to have some self-awareness; to allow the stream of consciousness to be really that – streams that flow and flourish.  Not to live in fear but to live consciously this NOW.

I don’t have any answers but as a student of Yoga Therapy, I do recall my Heart Health Module in my Yoga Therapy training … Key ideas I can share through yoga are on:

Heart Rate Variability – HRV relates to ANS – our nervous system – NS Balance

Rest – Exercise Balance: Yin/Yang Balance relates to the above … Moderate exercise, stretching and restoration … remember, Yang exercise mostly to strengthen – muscles strengthen with dynamic repetitive motions; fascia/connective tissues and joints heal and rejuvenate with longer gentle but increasing deeper stretch and holds. 

Stress Management: is critical to keep those healthy vital signs in check, including ideal weight gain/loss and maintenance.  

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