The intensity and speed of life can leave us all feeling a little flustered and overwhelmed. There is so much to think about, organise and implement that it can leave you wondering where to start.
In the words of Mr Miyagi… FOCUS
Focus requires clarity of mind and body, so with the holistic approach that MANtra takes towards overall health, wellbeing and performance ties in perfectly with this. Yoga is beneficial to the spiritual and physical aspects of health and wellbeing, and if you can get the two singing in harmony then you are onto a winner.
You DO NOT make a change to the body without having some impact on the mind, similarly bodily changes do not happen without some cognitive adjustment taking place.
The Hindi word Yoga literally means ‘to join’ or ‘union’, whilst the literal meaning of mantra is ‘to repeat’. So for me, the union of Yoga and Nutrition is the key to unlocking a fulfilling and healthful life.
Now, we can take the classic yoga from the east which focussed on incorporating asanas (physical exercises and postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation, this was designed to move someone towards peace of mind and spiritual enlightenment. This is important, but I feel the unity that this has with the more modern, western approach to Yoga such as working on the physical exercises intended to build flexibility and strength is where the magic really happens.
Tying this in with Nutrition is truly powerful, the emotional and spiritual benefit that comes from a healthy diet is empowering and comforting as much as it is functionally beneficial to health and performance. Nutrition is the glue to a well-planned and meaningful Yoga journey, similarly Yoga can bring calmness and presence of mind to make the most out of your nutrition journey.
If you want to improve your physical and emotional condition then reducing stress and anxiety is a great place to start, why, because we lose motivation when stressed and we overeat as a way to manage this. See the link?
The importance of optimal nutrition, if you exercise, is paramount. Pre-exercise nutrition is important, but post-exercise nutrition is critical if we want to sustain physical activity over a period of time. With this in mind, Yoga is what’s known as parasympathetic dominant, and a parasympathetic dominant activity will trigger a ‘rest and digest’ response in the body which is key to full and total recovery.
Recovery includes physical regeneration in the form of muscle recovery and hormonal management i.e. reduction of cortisol and regulation of adrenaline. Recovery also needs parasympathetic (rest and digest) recalibration because if the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) is elevated for too long then we quickly burn out.