I talk a lot about the power of our nervous system. God knew what He was doing when He created us, and I don’t go a day, without being grateful for some of the tools He hardwired right into us.

Here is a bit of my own story of how and when I began to experience the power of our nervous system. Note: this is just a small bit of information about the awesomeness of our nervous system, but one lots of us are most interested in.

My gut health journey started when I was just 20, but it took a lot of years to be willing to break away from the traditional methods and recommendations for weight loss. In my 30’s I started practicing yoga. I started practicing yoga because my back hurt, and I’d been teaching pilates for a long time and I was ready for something different. There are a lot of similarities between pilates and yoga, so I was really wanting to gain some more flexibility and strengthen my core and back… What I didn’t anticipate was the huge impact it would have on my mental flexibility. By my investing roughly 20-30 minutes a day (probably 5 days/week), I was noticing that when things didn’t go as planned, I was slower to over-react. Interesting, huh? And then, I also started to lose a little weight–and believe me, I was not burning that many calories in 20-30 minutes of yoga! 

How? My nervous system was beginning to come out of the constant state of fight or flight. And my body was beginning to experience the power of our parasympathetic nervous system. Our parasympathetic nervous system has been nicknamed “rest and digest.” When less cortisol is running through the body, or body will begin to feel safe enough to let go of excess weight… In the state of fight or flight (when your sympathetic nervous system is elevated), your body is worried you are going to starve to death, so there is no way that your body will let go of what can keep you alive. And this goes especially around the belly area. Your organs need to be protected my friends. 😉

So, back to my own experience. I grew up an avid calorie counter, so I knew the total number of calories burned from different types of workouts, so when I started to lose weight, and was burning so few calories. I developed a new curiosity about our nervous system and how much it actually impacts our ability to let go of unnecessary “baggage”.  

I have been practicing yoga (and teaching yoga) for a lot of years now. And the above still holds true. As I age, I believe even more so: stress changes, different systems in our bodies begin to change, but my weight changes the most when I trade out yoga time for other workouts (including running/jogging). I know, if you grew up a calorie counter, it makes no sense. One more note: this doesn’t just work for me. I have seen it time and time again in with the students I have taught.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, try it for yourself. Get out your yoga mat, choose a video, and notice how you feel at the end. If you are less stress, you are already beginning to enjoy some of the benefits of how yoga positively impacts your nervous system.

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