Post #100: The night I bit someone’s head off.
As a female there have been many times I felt at the mercy of the hormones coursing through my bloodstream at any given moment. And now in my late 40’s I’m experiencing the effects of the lack of hormones coursing through my body.
Sometimes it seems as if there’s not much we can do about our “mood” in these situations. When I began my yoga practice in my early 20’s I noticed after consistent practice that my “mood” no longer felt like it was at the mercy of a combination of internal and external forces.
As my practice continued I noticed a deep settling inside myself that took a lot more than wonky hormones to get off kilter. It still happened but not nearly as much as it had before. I knew my yoga practice was working on me in ways far beyond my human mind’s comprehension. But it wasn’t until recently that I was looking at real research and reveling in the results that I already knew (experientially) could be attained from this ancient, amazing practice.
There were a few moments in my late teens that I would rather forget in which I let hormones (along with other pent up emotions) drive me into reactions that ended up hurting people’s feelings and costing me friendships.
I practically bit a friends head off in college one night when she continued to make me feel like I didn’t understand a certain situation that she and another roommate were in. Instead of letting it go I flew off the handle and said things to her that I could never take back. It caused irrevocable damage to our relationship and I will never forget it.
But as I look back I realize that it was another moment that would define my life, another moment that would combine with others to become the drive within myself to try to be a better person. To delve deep and understand what it is that truly causes us to behave in certain ways, react in certain ways, and ruin friendships and relationships because of it.
My yoga practice and self-study has become my life’s work in understanding this. Now all I wish to do is share this amazing practice and self-study through my spiritual-yogi membership and help others understand why we can all (excuse my language) be complete asses sometimes and what we can do about it.
So check out the research below and enjoy many more reasons to roll out that yoga mat by the end of today. I’m also including a 19-minute tabletop vinyasa flow. Enjoy!
Overview of research:
Just one yoga class has shown to improve mood due to increases in a neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA helps regulate all other hormones, chemicals, and neurotransmitters and prevent them from causing an overexcited state. GABA helps decrease anxiety and stress. More please!!
In meditation there is an aspect in which you are working on focusing the mind which takes it out of monkey mind, those random and excessive thoughts running rampant in your head. This focused aspect of meditation, including yoga as movement meditation, has been shown to decrease the incidents of mood disorders. What?! Yes please!
According to the research, meditation can help individuals sleep better, reduce some of the psychological difficulties associated with chronic pain, and even improve some cognitive and behavioral functions. Uh, heck yeah.
It’s impossible to make our thoughts go away completely. However, practicing meditation can help one detach from the thoughts and the subsequent feelings associated with those thoughts. Studies show that meditating even for as little as 10 minutes increases the brain’s alpha waves (associated with relaxation) and decreases anxiety and depression. In non-meditators, the lateral prefrontal cortex does not control the medial prefrontal cortex as well, leading to excessive “me” thinking.
Anxiety decreases the more one meditates because the neural paths that link those upsetting sensations to the medial prefrontal cortex decrease. Over time, people who meditate become calmer, have a greater capacity for empathy, and respond to life in a more balanced way. No wonder!
Most know yoga for helping to increase strength and flexibility, improve balance, and reduce stress. Research shows that there are changes in hippocampal volumes in experienced yoga practitioners. The hippocampus is a brain structure that is critically involved in learning and memory. Yoga also has a neuroprotective effect, which means that it may potentially slow aging of the brain. Repeat that!
In addition, numerous studies and reviews have reported on the effects of yoga practice on positive mental health, such as mindfulness, resilience, affect, happiness, well-being, satisfaction with life, self-compassion, and social relationships. Sold!
If you weren’t sold before, then maybe you are now! The time to start your practice is yesterday! The yoga vignettes you will find on Spiritual Yogi membership are great to get you started in a daily practice. Anyone can find at least 20 minutes to dedicate to this amazing practice and now you know why it will be worth your time and effort.
I’m including a tabletop vinyasa flow that you can practice anytime.
Spiritual Yogi membership opens soon and you’ll be the first to know!
Remember, you are a force for good in the world. The more consistent you get with these practices the more your life will become guided, sacred, and filled with meaning. You cannot help but then extend deep peace, joy, and contentment to your loved ones, friends, and everyone you meet. The world could use more of this, so let’s get you in the best space to make it happen.