Why Fear, Anxiety and Stress Change our Chemistry. Restorative Yoga To The Rescue Part II

Restorative Yoga To The Rescue

By Diana Ross, ERYT 500 TriYoga and Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga

Why Fear, Anxiety and Stress Change our Chemistry. Restorative Yoga to the Rescue!
Our bodies sure do react to stress, fear and anxiety. An immediate physical reaction within our body can be felt, causing an increase in heart rate and in the shortness of our breath.  The blood vessels constrict in many parts of our body creating these stress hormones that wreak havoc with our mind, body and spirit.  For those of us diagnosis with breast cancer we are all too familiar with these common types of stressors.

Where does all these chemical changes take place in the body’s systems?

Let’s look at the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) components and functions which are composed of the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System.  Sympathetic  and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to one other.  Think of   the sympathetic division as the “on” switch and the parasympathetic division as the “off” switch. The sympathetic call to action requires a quick and immediate response, the “fight or flight response.” The parasympathetic call to action does not require a response; it is more laid back, the “rest and digest response.”

The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is a section of the nervous system that works to accelerate the heart rate, constrict blood vessels, and increase blood pressure. It is responsible for triggering activities associated with the “fight-or-flight” response. The sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) constitute the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The sympathetic nervous system activity  tends to heightened in patients with major depressive disorder, (MDD). This would include depression that may also come from having breast cancer. The increase in sympathetic nervous system activity create a higher level of norepinephrine and epinephrine which handle the response and controls of brain function.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) specifically is responsible for prompting the “rest-and-digest” activities that occur when the body is quiet. These responses would include natural functions such as digestion, elimination, assimilation, urination, salivation, eye tearing and sexual arousal. Its action is a complementary branch of the (ANS.)

As the above explanation shows, it is possible to exert a certain amount of control over the body’s naturally occurring hormonal system.  We will want to maintain high GABA and endorphin levels and low stress hormone levels. This is particularly critical when our immune system has been compromised by excessive stress, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments.  Recent research studies confirm the positive results from a sustained yoga practice on GABA and cortisol levels.  Studies from Yale and Washington University have shown that mindful meditation and yoga increases your brain’s levels of GABA, DHEA, melatonin, serotonin, HGH, and endorphins. Meditation and yoga effectively combats the effects of depression by reducing your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Now that you understand some of the mechanics of stress on the body it is time to embrace  a restorative yoga practice. It is easy, relaxing and satisfying. To see some easy to learn and to do poses visit our YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/BreastCancerYoga to see for yourself.  Find a restorative yoga class near by or buy a DVD http://www.breastcanceryoga.com/Yogaforbreastcancerdvd.html You won’t regret it.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

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  1. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with thhe pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or
    if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.



  1. […] Why Fear, Anxiety and Stress Change our Chemistry. Restorative Yoga To The Rescue Part II […]


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