The Magic Ingredient for Weight Loss and Vibrant Health...
The answer? Relaxation!
No, that is not a typo, and yes, this is highly backed by scientific research. I'll be delving into relaxation and chronic stress in great detail over upcoming posts as this is my primary area of interest. Today, however, I want to introduce a distinction between relaxation and laxity, which was laid out so well by B.K.S. Iyengar in his book Light on Life.
"In laxity there is chaos and heedlessness as well as carelessness, and therefore the flow of energy is erratic. In relaxation there is careful adjustment, and hence energy is rhythmic (36)."
So my question for you is... when was the last time you actually relaxed? When you feel exhausted, do you flip on the television or surf the internet? If so you are keeping your brain in a heightened state of stimulation, never actually allowing the nervous system to unwind and drop into the parasympathetic response where relaxation, renewal, and digestion take place. Since the parasympathetic nervous system enhances digestion, increases sexual arousal, and calms the nerves, your multitasking, overworking, and electronic stimulation all translate into digestive troubles like constipation or diarrhea, a low sex drive, and anxiety. Sounds peachy doesn't it? And, yet, we convince ourselves that it's sexy and admirable to always be busy, busy.
I spent this past weekend in the beautiful wilderness of Colorado. Sometimes we need distance from our distractions. We need to get away. After a weekend filled with camping under the stars, hot springs, hiking, exploration, lounging by the river, and good food, I felt more rejuvenated than I have in a very long time. My monkey mind slowed, I felt deeply content and grateful, and my breath deepened.
I invite you to reexamine the ways that you choose to relax at the end of the workday or workweek and ask yourself if they are truly nourishing.
- One day this week, instead of watching TV, or ticking away time on Pinterest or Facebook, choose real relaxation. Take a bath with essential oils and bath salts, go for a slow, quiet walk underneath the moonlight, stargaze, get a massage, or practice yoga. Find what works for you and make a resource list for your most frazzled moments.
- Schedule one weekend getaway this month. It doesn't have to be expensive. Camping can be free;) Leave all electronics and mental stimulation at home.
- Choose one day a week to take a break from email, tv, the news, the phone. Get centered in your core.
- Take the first 10 minutes of every day to just sit quietly. The first 10 minutes determine the tone of the rest of your day. If you immediately turn on your phone and check your email, you're in for a hell of a day;)