Our new teacher, Zelly Restorick, explains how simple techniques can lead to a state of relaxation and regeneration.

In recent years, research has shown the detrimental effects of stress on the body-mind, leading to the development of serious health problems. And yet we all have a natural automatic restoration system within us. The autonomic nervous system is divided into two separate systems - the sympathetic and the parasympathetic – which help us to maintain a sense of balance within our body-mind.

The sympathetic system is activated when we are in an emergency, stressful situation and results in increased heart rate and heart metabolism, constriction of blood vessels, rapid breathing and a poor digestive system.

The parasympathetic system activates a whole system of responses which restore the body to a state of relaxation and regeneration, nourishment and repair: your heart rate slows, blood pressure decreases, blood vessels in the lungs dilate, digestion is stimulated and metabolic rate stabilizes.

''Once learned, you have these techniques for the rest of your life and you can carry them with you''

These systems are designed to work in harmony, maintaining our body-mind balance. However, they cannot be activated simultaneously. Excessive activation of either system can have detrimental effects on the body-mind. It is generally believed that nowadays we spend too much time in a state of stress and tension, over-activating and sustaining our sympathetic nervous system responses.

However, using simple techniques, easily acquired and practiced, we can activate the para-sympathetic nervous system, naturally bringing ourselves into a state of calm and relaxation.

Co-coordinating gentle movement with your breath (Chi Kung), being present in the ‘now’ moment and practicing simple breath awareness meditation all activate the natural self-healing effects of the parasympathetic nervous system, having a restorative effect on the body-mind. Once learned, you have these techniques for the rest of your life and you can carry them with you, with no need for equipment or a special location.

Come along to a free taster session of Movement, Mindfulness and Meditation at our Open Day, 12 September, 10 – 10.45am