When I tell people I have a daily yoga practice, the typical response is 'oh you're good aren't you?'
'Good' has nothing to do with it. I'm an addict, I love to get Yoga Stoned, and in this post, I'll explain why.
During a typical weekday, most of us sit in a chair, head bent down, looking at a computer screen, right hand clenched around a mouse, left hand perched on the keyboard, and as much as we try to watch our posture, it’s likely the body is slouched over for a good portion of the day… You were slouching just then, weren't you!?
Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale. Try to continue to breathe deeply as you read this blog. Deep breathing helps us retain information (try it next time you're studying), and you’re going to want to log this in your mind.
Yoga is a natural high, any regular practitioner can attest to the good feelings they experience after a practice. and it all starts with your breath;
The process of linking breath with movement provides physiological and emotional benefits. Every part of you—your brain, heart, skin, organs, muscles, nerves, you name it—needs oxygen to function and survive. Deep, expansive breathing—with exhales that last longer than inhales—helps oxygenate our blood and lungs and purifies the blood stream by eliminating toxins and carbon dioxide.
It's this breathing cycle that calms smokers, not the chemicals they ingest.
Do Your OM Thing Yogis know I like to share the science and leave that with you to apply to your own belief system. So allow me to enlighten you as I explain why you feel so good after practicing yoga!
Research shows there’s a link between feeling ‘high’ and endocannabinoids, naturally occurring chemicals in the body that are similar to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) found in cannabis.
Inhale that fact.
Now we turn our attention to anandamide; a word that actually comes from Sanskrit ‘ananda’ meaning 'pleasure' or 'bliss.' Anandamide, is a neurotransmitter and a cannabinoid very similar to THC. Studies have shown exercise greatly increases the production of anandamide. There is even speculation that anandamide is the cause of “runner’s high” — not endorphins as previously thought.
Anandamide stimulates brain growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory, brain organisation, and spatial navigation. Furthermore, neurogenesis is connected to an uplifted mood, diminished anxiety, diminished depression, and the sharpening of memory. There's your high!
Although all the benefits and effects of yoga can’t be reduced down to only chemical processes, understanding the chemistry can add a valuable and enlightening perspective.
You know that moment in class when you can't work out what's left and right, or how to copy a sequence you've just been shown? Chances are you're Yoga Stoned. In those brief moments you're not there practicing with me, the chemical processes in your body have taken you somewhere else!
Whilst the ancient yogis didn’t have the worry of attracting Instagram followers, living in the era of Alternative Facts and the stress of precisely- what- is- the- correct- pronunciation- of- ‘quinoa?’ And yet... they created a system we can use to help manage these, and other life challenges. A regular yoga high is going to give you a much needed hit of those happy chemicals.
So, that is why I have a daily yoga practice. I'm an addict who loves getting Yoga Stoned!