Practicing Adrenal Yoga for AFS Recovery
Exercise is a very important aspect in the sphere of our overall health. When we are experiencing extreme fatigue, however, it may not always be possible to undertake the rigorous exercise that you may think you need. It is in these types of situations where adrenal yoga should be considered as a good alternative to traditional aerobic exercise.
Whenever you are experiencing an extreme level of fatigue, it is important to be very careful in regards to the types of exercises you undertake. The body, in a weak state, is very susceptible to a myriad of problems. One can easily experience overexertion, low blood sugar levels, dizziness, and even blurry vision. If you experience any of those symptoms while exercising, the best thing that you can do is to stop immediately and seek out a professional opinion to learn why those things are happening. It is very common for people to overexert themselves when they are highly stressed and experiencing Adrenal Fatigue (AF).
Yoga and AFS
Yoga as a form of exercise is known to be great for providing recovery and can also help people cope with stressful circumstances without experiencing increasingly negative reactions. There are many forms of yoga. Some can make adrenal fatigue worse (such as hot yoga), while others are much more gentle (such as adrenal yoga). There are many facets of yoga. For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the physical aspects, but it should not be discounted that the mental training that yoga provides can often be very helpful. Adrenal yoga is a great way to help you recover from AF because of its gentle approach.
A brief overview of the adrenal glands is important to understand how adrenal yoga can help you. There are two separate parts to the adrenal gland; the first of which is known as the adrenal medulla which secretes adrenaline and noradrenaline. There are several different purposes for these hormones to be released but a few main tasks are maintaining heart rate, increasing oxygen flow to the muscles, and raising your blood pressure.
The second part of the adrenal gland that is important to understand is called the adrenal cortex. The purpose of the adrenal cortex is to produce and release cortisol, among other hormones, which has several different effects on the body. Cortisol is a very powerful hormone; it is released when the body is under threat (or perceived threat) and it readies the “fight or flight” response in the body. It also suppresses inflammation and the immune system – so there are risks of having high cortisol levels over time. When the body is unable to keep up with the demand for certain hormones, such as cortisol, it often enters a state of AF from which there needs to be recovery.
Adrenal Yoga Exercise
Adrenal yoga is not as simple as just picking up any old yoga book and choosing a few exercises at random. There are specific movements that can benefit an already exhausted body and help you on the road to recovery from AF or Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
A simple adrenal yoga exercise that we will be discussing today is known as “corpse pose”. This is one of the simplest poses and has many benefits in its practice. First you need to lie flat on your back and stretch out your legs so that they are in a position that is mid-line with your torso. Once you’ve done this, raise your head so that your neck is fully extended and make sure that it is centered by visualizing your years equidistant from your shoulders. Once all of these things are in line, make sure that your arms are turned out with your palms facing up and relax.
You can become disarmed within seconds and spend a minimum of five minutes or more focusing on relaxing everything in your body. This type of centering will help you to reduce stress and take a little bit of time to yourself during very stressful times. Something that adrenal yoga is meant to do is not only treat symptoms, but to become a practice that helps you keep symptoms at bay.
Not all people have the ability to exercise because of various health problems that may or may not be related to AFS. This is something that everyone should consider before diving into a new protocol of exercise. If you are in a state of extreme exhaustion, it could very possibly be the best thing to get some rest and take some time to yourself. It is up to you to make sure you are choosing safe methods of therapy for your own body. If you think there are excessive risks involved with anything you are considering for exercise, such as adrenal yoga, then it is recommended that you seek out professional advice.
NEM Stress Response and Exercise
Our bodies are equipped with a built-in system to manage stress. The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response is the system that our bodies use to communicate the messages associated with managing stress through chemical signals known as neurotransmitters and hormones. Proper functionality throughout this system is imperative to ensure sustainable reactions to stressors.
The main component of the NEM Stress Response is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. An appropriately functioning HPA axis will ensure that all neurotransmissions, hormone production, oxygen uptake, and even blood flow are managed with proper speed and efficiency. When cortisol is released by the adrenals, blood pressure rises, blood cholesterol levels rise, the digestive system slows or even halts, and new nutrients cannot be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. As stated earlier, this is the normal response of stress in the body. The problems arise when stress is extremely frequent – which encourages this unhealthy physical cycle to persist on a continual basis without reversion to a natural resting state.
Adrenal yoga can help to play a large part in overcoming the long term negative effects of heightened levels of stress. Even though the NEM Stress Response is a natural set of reactions that cannot necessarily be controlled by an individual, some of the damaging effects can be mitigated by exercise. Just getting out there and moving can be the small gesture that your body needs to help increase self-esteem and lower stress.
With so many forms of exercise out there, there can be an endless supply of opinions and methods that people claim will help you overcome your ailments. Adrenal yoga is special because of how it can be tailored to a specific individual’s needs. A large complaint, or excuse, of many people for why they don’t exercise is that they feel that just getting started is too large of a task.
Now, to reference what we touched on in the previous section, if one of the exercises is simply meant for relaxation and to help you recover to a point where you are strong enough for traditional exercise, it is the perfect entrance point. When a person is in advanced adrenal fatigue or exhaustion, the last thing they are going to want to do is implement a regimen that is going to be a struggle to stay accountable to or be difficult to follow.
For some people, exercise and adrenal yoga will not be enough to combat their stress problems. There are times where people can have misdirected concepts of where their symptoms are coming from, and this can lead to dangerous assumptions. Serious medical conditions can be present without the person who is suffering even being aware. If you think that there is something wrong and are concerned for your health, it is best that you consult a professional – to take as much risk out of the situation as possible. To mistreat an illness (that you may not even know you have) is something that should be avoided at all costs.
AFS Recovery and Moving Forward
The adrenal glands are particularly active during times of stress – which often results in them being overworked. If there is not sufficient nutrient uptake or available compounds for the adrenals to draw from in order to produce necessary hormones and steroids, they can become fatigued and even reach the point of exhaustion.
The presence of available nutrients is not the only thing that can prevent the adrenals from working correctly. There comes a point where an individual cannot produce enough necessary hormones because the mere presence of the hormones that have been released have created a crisis within the body. This is the target objective of adrenal yoga, to help the body return to a balanced enough state where it can begin to produce the necessary hormones again and recover.
Sometimes the main point of an exercise is not that it be a competition – only beneficial for whoever is participating in it. Adrenal yoga is just that, a safe way for you to practice your breathing and exercise just the right areas of the body to help with AFS recovery. One of the great things about practicing yoga is that it has no impact on your joints, is very gentle on your cardiovascular system, and it can be as basic or advanced as the user wants it to be.
Control Your Breathing
One of the things that we have not yet touched on that deserves merit is the practice of breathing exercises and meditation that often go hand in hand with yoga. Breathing exercises can be used to accompany adrenal yoga for an even more relaxing experience. Controlling your breathing can help to calm your mind and reduce stress.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when considering breathing exercises is that they wait until they are completely overcome by stress before they make an attempt to control their breath. This is a poor approach, because when you are already in a state of stress there have already been large amount of stress hormones released into your bloodstream and throughout your body. When you use a couple simple exercises – as soon as you realize the onset of stress – you can mitigate some of the damage before it’s done.
There is a technique that can be incorporated and used alongside of adrenal yoga called adrenal breathing. It is easy to do and can be quite helpful. To start, put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Then take a breath in through your nose and while making sure your stomach is pushing your hand away from your body. If in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, it is best to start slowly and do not breath in too deep. Deep breathing may be stimulatory on the body if not properly performed. Completing these breathing exercises throughout the day can provide immediate positive effects of lower blood pressure and heart rate. This can allow you to relax in a much timelier manner than if you didn’t step away from the stressful situation and allow yourself to calm down.
There isn’t a single thing that will work for everyone when it comes to stress, and you should make sure that you’re doing what will work best. Adrenal yoga and breathing exercises are a largely safe and natural medicine that can be used by almost anyone. However, because improper use can worsen adrenal fatigue, it is recommended that it be done under professional guidance – especially if you are in advance stages. Improper use can trigger adrenal crashes and retard adrenal fatigue recovery.
The complete Adrenal Yoga series consists of 21 progressive sessions that relaxes your body, strengthen your core, rebalances your nervous system, and allow you to control the body’s response to stress. Beginning sessions are 20 minutes long and goes up to 60 minutes as your body gets stronger. It’s a wonderful way to systematically help your body recover from adrenal fatigue.
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.