3 simple practices for a calm, happy and resilient nervous system
Collectively, women’s health is in crisis.
In a culture that bows down at the altar of productivity it’s no surprise that chronic stress, depletion and exhaustion are on the rise and becoming the norm for many women.
This ‘busyness’ epidemic is negatively impacting the wellbeing of women across the globe. More women are diagnosed with stress related illnesses every day, such as adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, autoimmune disease, fertility and sleep problems – and the list goes on!
Why is this happening?
With the plethora of roles we are obliged to play in the modern world, we can tend to put our needs last. We ‘people-please’ and try to be everything to everyone. Over time this takes a toll, and inevitably leads to depletion and burnout.
We simply cannot serve ourselves and others with an inner well that is parched and in drought!
Many women also experience a disconnect with their intrinsic feminine cycles. When aligned there are times in the cycle where one is naturally more expressive and ‘on’, and times where turning the gaze inwards and rest take precedence. Overriding these natural rhythms can see women living in a state of perpetual stress, which, over time, impacts their ability to thrive.
My relationship with Restorative Yoga began 11 years ago when I had a wakeup call and experienced a breakdown of epic proportions. The result was an autoimmune disorder that left me in crippling pain and fatigue. This was the catalyst that saw me begin a lifelong love affair with the gifts of this style of yoga. It continues to be a daily non-negotiable practice I use to self-regulate my nervous system and come home to myself.
As a hypersensitive person (HSP) it doesn’t take much for my nervous system to become activated. This over-stimulation can lead to me experiencing heightened states of living from the ‘stress response’ which eventually exhausts the adrenals and can be a slippery slope to a whole host of other illness.
Restorative Yoga has been the one tool (out of many delicious self-care practices I utilise) that has had the most profound impact on my healing journey and overall soothing of my nervous system. The practice allows me to slow down, pause and move out of the constant ‘doing’ that life asks of me and to rest fully into simply ‘being’.
When I prioritise stillness, I am more able to listen to my body’s messages and the whispering of my soul. It has become my navigation tool – a self-care compass and guide for how I meet life and the world.
My experience through burnout and the healing I’ve received through Restorative Yoga are what fuels my passion to share this incredible and so needed practice with women in my community and around the world through ongoing classes, workshops and retreats.
One of the many things I love about Restorative Yoga is that even if all I can manage is one pose for 5-10 minutes (because yes life is full and busy!) even in that short amount of time I receive incredible benefits to my whole being.
It is these daily ‘top ups’ that keep my inner well full. Of course, when I do have the space and time I love nothing more than luxuriating in a longer practice!
Today I want to share with you three of my favourite ‘go-to’ practices that I call on when I am in need of the soothing balm that fully resting in a supported way always offers me.
The beauty of these poses is that they leave you feeling connected, calm and with a nervous system purring like a content pussy cat. I also love that you can do them anywhere, anytime, without the need of any special yoga props.
Supported Child’s Pose
The is my number one pick for when for I need some extra nurturing and support. I love the feeling of sinking into the bolster and completely letting go. It’s calming for the mind, soothing for the lower back and leaves me feeling deeply nourished and held. And, it’s a wonderful moon time practice.
This one is medicine for the lower back and also the perfect choice for when I’m experiencing exhaustion. I practise this pose daily, often just before I go to bed as it sets me up for a good night’s sleep. If a chair isn’t available, then the bed can often be a great alternative for the legs to rest on.
The queen of poses, this rejuvenating practice has an endless list of benefits. Some of my favourites include: balancing the endocrine (hormonal) system, calming the nervous system, aiding circulation and boosting the immune system. I also love to do this pose just before sleep, or any time I need to de-stress.
Star Despres is a Senior Course Facilitator for our Bliss Baby Yoga Online Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga Teacher Training course and Online L1 Restorative Yoga Teacher Training course, and also offers Online 1:1 Mentoring for yoga teachers and personalised yoga classes.
Star also shares her own Online sanctuary – www.stardespres.com – honouring the feminine and offering private mentoring, retreats, workshops and circles to inspire women to reclaim their power and reconnect to their authentic selves. Her greatest role is as a mama of 2 daughters (17 years apart), and continues to fine tune the balance of work and Mamahood whilst also honouring her own needs.
Top image used with permission by Star Despres. Photo by Ingrid Pullen Photography